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Title: Byeways in Palestine

Author: James Finn

Release Date: July 18, 2007  [eBook #22097]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1868 James Nisbet and Co. edition by Les Bowler.

                         [Picture: Frontispiece]


                          JAMES FINN, M.R.A.S.,

    "The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good
    land."--NUMB. xiv. 7.

                  JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.

                           _To His Excellency_
                _Right Hon. Francis Lord Napier_, _K.T._,
                            _etc. etc. etc._,
                 _Governor of the Presidency of Madras_,
                            This little Volume
                             _is inscribed_,
                 _in grateful acknowledgment of kindness_
                              _received in_
                        _Jerusalem and elsewhere_,

                                                            BY THE AUTHOR.

_London_, 1867.


These papers on "Byeways in Palestine" are compiled from notes of certain
journeys made during many years' residence in that country; omitting the
journeys made upon beaten roads, and through the principal towns, for the
mere reason that they were such.

Just what met the eye and ear was jotted down and is now revised after a
lapse of time, without indulging much in meditation or reflection; these
are rather suggested by the occurrences, that they may be followed out by
the reader.  Inasmuch, however, as the incidents relate to out-of-the-way
places, and various seasons of the year, they may be found to contain an
interest peculiar to themselves, and the account of them may not
interfere with any other book on Palestine.

I may state that, not being a professed investigator, I carried with me
no scientific instruments, except sometimes a common thermometer: I had
no leisure for making excavations, for taking angles with a theodolite,
or attending to the delicate care of any kind of barometer, being
employed on my proper business.

Riding by night or by day, in the heat of Syrian summer, or through snows
and piercing winds of winter on the mountains, I enjoyed the pure climate
for its own sake.  Moreover, I lived among the people, holding
intercourse with peasants in villages, with Bedaween in deserts, and with
Turkish governors in towns, or dignified Druses in the Lebanon, and slept
in native dwellings of all qualities, as well as in convents of different
sects: in the open air at the foot of a tree, or in a village mosque--in
a cavern by the highway side, or beneath cliffs near the Dead Sea:
although more commonly within my own tent, accompanied by native servants
with a small canteen.

Sad cogitations would arise while traversing, hour after hour, the
neglected soil, or passing by desolated villages which bear names of
immense antiquity, and which stand as memorials of miraculous events
which took place for our instruction and for that of all succeeding ages;
and then, even while looking forward to a better time to come, the heart
would sigh as the expression was uttered, "How long?"

These notices will show that the land is one of remarkable fertility
wherever cultivated, even in a slight degree--witness the vast
wheat-plains of the south; and is one of extreme beauty--witness the
green hill-country of the north; although such qualities are by no means
confined to those districts.  Thus it is not necessary, it is not just,
that believers in the Bible, in order to hold fast their confidence in
its predictions for the future, should rush into the extreme of
pronouncing the Holy Land to be cursed in its present capabilities.  It
is verily and indeed cursed in its government and in its want of
population; but still the soil is that of "a land which the Lord thy God
careth for."  There is a deep meaning in the words, "The earth is the
Lord's," when applied to that peculiar country; for it is a reserved
property, an estate in abeyance, and not even in a subordinate sense can
it be the fief of the men whom it eats up.  (Numb. xiii. 32, and Ezek.
xxxvi. 13, 14.)  I have seen enough to convince me that astonishing will
be the amount of its produce, and the rapidity also, when the obstacles
now existing are removed.

With respect to antiquarian researches, let me express my deep interest
in the works now undertaken under the Palestine Exploration Fund.  My
happiness, while residing in the country, would have been much augmented
had such operations been at that time, _i.e._, between 1846 and 1863,
commenced in Jerusalem or elsewhere in the Holy Land.

                                                                     J. F.


The frontispiece picture to this volume represents the relic of a small
Roman Temple, situated on the eastern edge of the Plain of Sharon, near
the line of hills, between the two villages Awali and M'zeera'a.

It is quadrangular in form, with a door and portico on its north front.

The portico is supported by two round columns of Corinthian order, and
two pilasters of the same at the extremities.  The columns are of small
dimensions, the shafts not exceeding nine feet in length; yet in these
the canon is observed which obtains in the larger proportions found in
classic lands, namely, that the diameter is somewhat extended near the
half elevation from the ground.  The capitals are of the best design.

The doorway is formed by a very bold and deep moulding, and in the
upright side-posts is found the same arrangement for holding a stone bar
in confining the door, as is to be seen in some sepulchres about
Jerusalem, namely, a curved groove increasing in depth of incision as it

The whole edifice bears the same warm tinge of yellow that all those of
good quality acquire from age in that pure climate.

The roof has been repaired, and the walls in some parts patched up.

On the southern wall, internally, the Moslems have set up a Kebleh niche
for indicating the direction of prayer.

The peasants call this building the "Boorj," or "Tower."

Near adjoining it are remains of ancient foundations: one quite circular
and of small diameter.

There is also by the road-side, not far off, a rocky grotto, supplied
with water by channels from the hills.

My sketches of this interesting relic date from 1848 and 1859, and, as
far as I am aware, no other traveller had seen it until lately, when the
members of the Palestine Exploration Expedition visited and took a
photograph of it, which is now published.

                                                                     J. F.

I.                      OVER THE JORDAN, AND    1
                        RETURN BY THE WEST
II.                     NORTHWARDS TO BEISAN,   85
                        KADIS, ANTIPATRIS,
III.                    SOUTHWARDS ON THE       144
                        PHILISTINE PLAIN AND
                        ITS SEA COAST
IV.                     HEBRON TO BEERSHEBA,    184
                        AND HEBRON TO JAFFA
V.                      THE LAND OF BENJAMIN    199
VI.                     SEBUSTIEH TO CAIFFA     214
VII.                    ESDRAELON PLAIN AND     226
                        ITS VICINITY
VIII.                   BELAD BESHARAH          253
IX.                     UPPER GALILEE--FOREST   264
X.                      TEMPLE OF BAAL AND      283
                        SEPULCHRE OF
XI.                     JERUSALEM TO PETRA,     289
                        AND RETURN BY THE
                        DEAD SEA
XII.                    ACROSS THE              347
XIII.                   NORTH-WEST OF THE       414
                        DEAD SEA
XIV.                    SOBA                    423
XV.                     THE TWO BAIT SAHHOORS   428
XVI.                    THE BAKOOSH COTTAGE     435
                        APPENDIX A              453
                        APPENDIX B              454
                        INDEX OF PLACES         461


We were a dozen Englishmen, including three clergymen, undertaking the
above journey accompanied by the large train of servants, interpreters,
and muleteers usually required for travelling in the East.  And it was on
Wednesday, the 9th day of May 1855, that we started.  This was considered
almost late in the season for such an enterprise.  The weather was hot,
chiefly produced by a strong shirocco wind at the time; and, in crossing
over the shoulder of the Mount of Olives, we found the country people
beginning their harvest at Bethany.

We were of course escorted by a party of Arab guides, partly villagers of
either _Abu Dis_ or _Selwan_, (Siloam,) and partly of those Ghawarineh
Arabs not deserving the appellation of Bedaween, who live around and
about Jericho.  These people, of both classes, form a partnership for
convoy of travellers to the Jordan under arrangements made at the
consulate.  Without them it would be impossible either to find the way to
Jericho and the river, or to pass along the deserted road, for there are
always out-lookers about the tops of the hills to give notice that you
are without an escort, and you would consequently still find that
travellers may "fall among thieves" between Jerusalem and Jericho;
besides that, on descending to the plain of Jericho you would certainly
become the prey of other Arabs of real tribes, ever passing about
there--including most probably the 'Adwan, to whose hospitality, however,
we were now about to commit ourselves.  To all this must be added, that
no other Arabs dare undertake to convoy travellers upon that road; the
Taamra to the south have long felt their exclusion from it to be a great
grievance, as the gains derived from the employment of escorting
Europeans are very alluring.

We had with us a deputed commissioner from the 'Adwan, namely, Shaikh
Fendi, a brother of Shaikh 'Abdu'l 'Azeez.  He was delighted with the
refreshment of eating a cucumber, when we rested by the wayside to eat
oranges--the delicious produce of Jaffa.

Passing the _Fountain of the Apostles_, (so called,) we jogged along a
plain road till we reached a booth for selling cups of coffee, at the
divergence of the road Nebi Moosa, (the reputed sepulchre of the prophet
Moses, according to the Mohammedans,) then up an ascent still named
_Tela'at ed Dum_, which is certainly the ancient {3} Adummim, (Joshua xv.
7)--probably so called from broad bands of _red_ among the strata of the
rocks.  Here there are also curious wavy lines of brown flint, undulating
on a large scale among the limestone cliffs.  This phenomenon is
principally to be seen near the ruined and deserted Khan, or eastern
lodging-place, situated at about half the distance of our journey.  The
name is _Khatroon_.

As we proceeded, our escort, mostly on foot, went on singing merrily, and
occasionally bringing us tufts of scented wild plants found in crevices
by the roadside.  Then we came to long remains of an ancient water
conduit, leading to ruins of a small convent.  In a few minutes after the
latter, we found ourselves looking down a fearfully deep precipice of
rocks on our left hand, with a stream flowing at the bottom, apparently
very narrow indeed, and the sound of it scarcely audible.  This is the
brook _Kelt_, by some supposed to be the _Cherith_ of Elijah's history.
Suddenly we were on the brow of a deep descent, with the Ghor, or Jericho
plain, and the Dead Sea spread out below.  In going down, we had upon our
left hand considerable fragments of ancient masonry, containing lines of
Roman reticulated brickwork.

It was now evening; a breeze, but not a cool one, blowing; and we left
aside for this time the pretty camping station of Elisha's Fountain,
because we had business to transact at the village of Er-Rihha, (or
Jericho.)  There accordingly our tents were pitched; and in a circle at
our doors were attentive listeners to a narration of the events of Lieut.
Molyneux's Expedition on the Jordan and Dead Sea in 1847.

Thermometer after sunset, inside the tent, at 89 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sleep very much disturbed by small black sandflies and ants.

_Thursday_, 10_th_.--Thermometer at 76 degrees before sunrise.  The scene
around us was animated and diversified; but several of us had been
accustomed to Oriental affairs--some for a good many years; and some were
even familiar with the particular localities and customs of this
district.  Others were young in age, and fresh to the country; expressing
their wonderment at finding themselves so near to scenes read of from
infancy--scarcely believing that they had at length approached near to

       "That bituminous lake
    Where Sodom stood,"

and filled with joyous expectation at the visit so soon to be made to the
Jordan, and beyond it.  Some were quoting Scripture; some quoting poetry;
and others taking particular notice of the wild Arabs, who were by this
time increasing in number about us,--their spears, their mares, their
guttural language, and not less the barren desert scene before us, being
objects of romantic interest.

At length all the tents and luggage were loaded on the mules, and ten men
of the village were hired for helping to convey our property across the
river; and we went forward over the strange plain which is neither desert
sand, as in Africa, nor wilderness of creeping plants and flowers, as on
the way to Petra, but a puzzling, though monotonous succession of low
eminences,--of a nature something like rotten chalk ground, if there be
such a thing in existence,--between which eminences we had to wind our
way, until we reached the border of tamarisk-trees, large reeds, willow,
aspen, etc., that fringes the river; invisible till one reaches close
upon it.

At the bathing (or baptism) place of the Greeks, northwards from that of
the Latins, to which English travellers are usually conducted, we had to
cross, by swimming as we could. {5}  King David, on his return from
exile, had a ferry-boat to carry over his household, but we had none.
Probably, on his escaping from Absalom, he crossed as we did.

The middle part of the river was still too deep for mere fording.  Horses
and men had to swim; so the gentlemen sat still on their saddles, with
their feet put up on the necks of their horses, which were led by naked
swimming Arabs in the water holding the bridles, one on each side.

Baggage was carried over mostly on the animals; but had to be previously
adjusted and tightened, so as to be least liable to get wetted.  Small
parcels were carried over on the heads of the swimmers.  These all
carried their own clothes in that manner.  One of the luggage mules fell
with his load in the middle of the stream.  It was altogether a lively
scene.  Our Arabs were much darker over the whole body than I had
expected to find them; and the 'Adwan have long plaits of hair hanging on
the shoulders when the _kefieh_, or coloured head-dress, is removed.  The
horses and beasts of burden were often restive in mid-current, and
provoked a good deal of merriment.  Some of the neighbouring camps having
herds of cattle, sent them to drink and to cool themselves in the river,
as the heat of the day increased.  Their drivers urged them in, and then
enjoyed the fun of keeping them there by swimming round and round them.
One cow was very nearly lost, however, being carried away rapidly and
helplessly in the direction of the Dead Sea, but she was recovered.  The
Jericho people returned home, several of them charged with parting
letters addressed to friends in Jerusalem; and we were left reposing,
literally reposing, on the eastern bank,--the English chatting happily;
the Arabs smoking or sleeping under shade of trees; pigeons cooing among
the thick covert, and a Jordan nightingale soothing us occasionally, with
sometimes a hawk or an eagle darting along the sky; while the
world-renowned river rolled before our eyes.

    "Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum."

The novelty of the scenes, and the brilliancy of the atmosphere, as well
the vivacity of the recent transactions in "passing over Jordan," had
their duly buoyant effect upon youthful persons,--who were, however, not
forgetful of past events in these places belonging to sacred history.

The baggage went on; but, as the appointed halting-place was only about
two hours distant, we remained enjoying ourselves as we were during most
of the day.

Among our novel friends is an Arab hero named _Gublan_, as they pronounce
it here, (but it is really the Turkish word _Kaplan_, meaning _Tiger_,)
and his uncle, old 'Abdu'l 'Azeez.  About three years before, Gublan had
been attacked by Government soldiers at Jericho.  He made a feigned
retreat, and, leading them into the thickets of Neb'k trees, suddenly
wheeled round and killed six of them.  The humbled Government force
retired, and the dead were buried, by having a mound of earth piled over
them.  Of course, such an incident was never reported to the Sublime
Invincible Porte at Constantinople; but it was a curious coincidence,
that this very morning, amid our circle before the tents, after breakfast
and close to that mound, we had Gublan, 'Abdu'l 'Azeez, and the Turkish
Aga of the present time, all peaceably smoking pipes together in our

Among our gentlemen we had a man of fortune and literary attainments, who
had been in Algiers, and now amused himself with dispensing with servants
or interpreters--speaking some Arabic.  He brought but very light
luggage.  This he placed upon a donkey, and drove it himself--wearing
Algerine town costume.  The Bedaween, however, as I need scarcely say,
did not mistake him for an Oriental.

Moving forward in the afternoon, we were passing over the _Plains of
Moab_, "on this [east] side Jordan by Jericho"--where Balaam, son of
Beor, saw, from the heights above, all Israel encamped, and cried out,
"How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob! and thy tabernacles, O Israel!  As
the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the
trees of lign-aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar-trees
beside the waters. . . .  Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is
he that curseth thee," (Num. xxii. I, and xxiv. 5, 6, 9.)  This territory
is also called the _Land of Moab_, where the second covenant was made
with the people by the ministry of Moses--the one "beside the covenant
which he made with them in Horeb."

Our ride was a gradual ascent; and after some time we were met by young
'Ali, the favourite son of the principal Shaikh Deab, (Wolf,) with a
small but chosen escort, sent on by his father to welcome us.  We saw a
good deal of corn land, and people reaping their harvest.  This belongs
to two or three scattered villages about there, under the immediate
protection of the Deab 'Adwan.  The Arabs, however, in this part of the
world, do condescend to countenance and even to profit by agriculture,
for they buy slaves to sow and reap for them.

In two hours and a half from the Jordan we came to our halting-place, at
a spot called _Cuferain_, ("two villages")--the Kiriathaim of Jer.
xlviii. 23--at the foot of the mountain, with a strong stream of water
rushing past us.  No sign, however, of habitations: only, at a little
distance to the south, were ruins of a village called _Er Ram_, (a very
common name in Palestine; but this is not Ramoth-Gilead;) and at half an
hour to the north was an inhabited village called _Nimrin_, from which
the stream flowed to us.--See Jer. xlviii. 34: "The waters of Nimrin
shall be desolate."

We had a refreshing breeze from the north which is justly counted a
luxury in summer time.  The shaikhs came and had coffee with me.  They
said that on the high summits we shall have cooler temperature than in
Jerusalem, which is very probable.

After dinner I sat at my tent-door, by the rivulet side, looking
southwards over the Dead Sea, and to the west over the line of the
promised land of Canaan, which I had never before had an opportunity of
seeing in that manner, although the well-known verse had been often
repeated in England--

    "Oh could I stand where Moses stood,
       And view the landscape o'er,
    Not Death's cold stream nor Jordan's flood
       Should fright me from the shore."

I then read over to myself in Arabic, the Psalms for the evening
service--namely, liii., liv., and lv.

About sunset there was an alarm that a lad who had accompanied us as a
servant from Jerusalem was missing ever since we left the Jordan.
Horse-men were sent in every direction in search of him.  It was
afterwards discovered that he had returned to Jericho.

At about a hundred yards south of us was a valley called _Se'eer_, (its
brook, however, comes down from the north)--abounding in fine rosy
oleander shrubs.

During the night the water near us seemed alive with croaking frogs.
Last night we had the sand-flies to keep us awake.

_Friday_, 11_th_.--Thermometer 66 degrees before sunrise.  My earliest
looks were towards Canaan, "that goodly land"--"the hills, from which
cometh my help."  How keen must have been the feeling of his state of
exile when David was driven to this side the river!

Before breakfast I bathed in the Se'eer, among bushes of oleander and the
strong-scented _ghar_--a purple-spiked flower always found adjoining to
or in water-beds.  Then read my Arabic Psalms as usual.

Before starting, young 'Ali and his party asked us all for presents, and
got none.  We gave answer unanimously that we meant to give presents to
his father when we should see him.  Strange how depraved the Arab mind
becomes on this matter of asking for gifts wherever European travellers
are found!--so different from the customs of ancient times, and it is not
found in districts off the common tracks of resort.

Our road lay up the hills, constantly growing more steep and precipitous,
and occasionally winding between large rocks, which were often overgrown
with honeysuckle in full luxuriance.  The Arabs scrambled like wild
animals over the rocks, and brought down very long streamers of
honeysuckle, Luwayeh, as they call it, which they wound round and round
the necks of our horses, and generally got piastres for doing so.  About
two-thirds of the distance up the ascent we rested, in order to relieve
the animals, or to sketch views, or enjoy the glorious scenery that lay
extended below us--comprising the Dead Sea, the line of the river trees,
Jericho, the woods of Elisha's Fountain, and the hills towards Jerusalem.
The Bedaween have eyes like eagles; and some avouched that they could see
the Mount of Olives, and the minaret upon its summit.  They indicated to
us the positions of Es-Salt and of Heshban.

We had now almost attained a botanical region resembling that of the
Jerusalem elevation, instead of the Indian vegetation upon the Jordan
plain; only there was _ret'm_ (the juniper of 1 Kings xix. 4) to be
found, with pods in seed at that season; but we had also our long
accustomed terebinth and arbutus, with honeysuckle and pink
ground-convolvulus.  The rocks were variegated with streaks of pink,
purple, orange, and yellow, as at Khatroon, on the Jerusalem road.
Partridges were clucking among the bushes; and the bells on the necks of
our mules lulled us with their sweet chime, as the animals strolled
browsing around in the gay sunshine.

When we moved forward once more, it was along paths of short zigzags
between cliffs, so that our procession was constantly broken into small
pieces.  At length we lost sight of the Ghor and the Dead Sea; and after
some time traversing miles of red and white cistus, red everlasting, and
fragrant thyme and sage, with occasional terebinth-trees festooned with
honeysuckle, we came upon a district covered with millions, or billions,
or probably trillions, of locusts, not fully grown, and only taking short
flights; but they greatly annoyed our horses.  My choice Arab, being at
that time ridden by my servant, fairly bolted away with fright for a
considerable distance.

At length we halted at a small spring oozing from the soil of the field.
The place was called _Hheker Zaboot_--a pretty place, and cuckoos on the
trees around us; only the locusts were troublesome.

'Abdu'l 'Azeez proposed that instead of going at once to Ammon, we should
make a detour by Heshbon and Elealeh, on the way to his encampment.  To
this we all assented.

During the ride forward the old shaikh kept close to me, narrating
incidents of his life,--such as his last year's losses by the Beni
Sukh'r, who plundered him of all his flocks and herds, horses, tents, and
even most of his clothing,--then described the march of Ibrahim Pasha's
army in their disastrous attempt upon Kerak: also some of the valiant
achievements of his kinsman Gublan; and then proceeding to witticism,
gave me his etymological origin of the name of Hhesban--namely, that, on
the subsiding of the great deluge, the first object that Noah perceived
was that castle, perched as it is upon a lofty peak; whereupon he
exclaimed, _Hhus'n ban_--"a castle appears!"  I wish I could recollect
more of his tales.

After passing through romantic scenery of rocks and evergreen trees, at a
sudden turn of the road we came to large flocks and herds drinking, or
couched beside a copious stream of water gushing from near the foot of a
rocky hill.  This they called _'Ain Hhesban_; and told us that the
Egyptian army above alluded to, twenty thousand in number, passed the
night there before arriving at Kerak.  To many of them it was their last
night on earth.

There were remains of large masonry lying about, and the scene was truly
beautiful--to which the bells of the goats and cows added a charming
musical effect.

I asked an Arab, who was bathing in a pool, where he had come from, and
he sulkily answered, "From t'other end of the world!"  And I suppose he
was right in saying so, for what meaning could he attach to the
designation, _the world_.  He must have meant the world of his own
experience, or that of his tribe, or his parents--probably extending to
the end of the Dead Sea in one direction, to the Lake of Tiberias in
another; to the Mediterranean in the west, and in the east to the wilds
unknown beyond the road of the Hhaj pilgrimage.  "From the other end of
the world," quoth he, the companion of a shepherd boy with his flute, at
a mountain spring, pitching pebbles at the sheep of his flock to keep
them from wandering away over their extent of "the world."

As we proceeded, there were several other streams issuing from the hills,
some of them falling in pretty cascades into thickets of oleander below.
All these meeting together, formed a line of river flowing between grassy
banks--near which we saw considerable remains of water-mills, not of
great antiquity.

Next we reached two small forts: the one upon our side the stream they
called _Shuneh_, (the usual name used for that kind of building;) the
other was across the water, and they called it _Shefa 'Amer_.  I should
wonder if our guides knew the existence of the town called _Shefa 'Amer_,
near Caiffa.  They told us that both these forts had been erected by
Deab's grandfather, but this is incredible.

Near the Shuneh I observed a very large sarcophagus, cut in the solid
rock, but not so far finished as to allow of its being removed.  In the
court-yard there was nothing remarkable.  There were, however, some
ancient rabbeted stones lying near.  Here I may remark, with respect to
the sarcophagus, that such things are rare on the east of the Jordan, or
anywhere else so far to the south.  There are two lids of such lying on
the plain of Sharon, alongside the Jaffa road from Jerusalem; and the
next southernmost one that I know of (excepting those at Jerusalem) is an
ornamented lid, near Sebustieh, the ancient Samaria; but they abound in

Forward again we went, higher and higher, with wild flowers in profusion,
and birds carolling all around.  Then literally climbing up a mountain
side, we came to a cleft in a precipice, which they called _El Buaib_,
(the little gate,) with unmistakable marks of ancient cuttings about
there.  Traversing a fine plain of wheat, we at length reached the
ancient city of Heshbon, with its acropolis of temple and castle.

That plain would be fine exercise-ground for the cavalry of Sihon, king
of the Amorites.  Fresh, and almost chilly, was the mountain air; but the
sky rather cloudy.

How magnificent was the prospect over to Canaan!  We were all persuaded
that the Mount of Olives would be visible thence on a fine day; and I
have no doubt whatever that the site on which we were standing is that
peak--the only peak breaking the regular outline of the Moab mountains
which is seen from Jerusalem.

We scattered ourselves about in several groups among pavements and
columns of temples, (the most perfect of which are in the Acropolis,)
sepulchres, cisterns, and quarries, picking up fragments of pottery, with
some pattern work (not highly ornamental, however) upon them, and
tesserae or the cubes of tesselated pavement, such as may be found all
over Palestine.  The Bedaween call them _muzzateem_ or _muzzameet_
indifferently.  There were some good Corinthian capitals, fragments of
cornices, and portions of semicircular arches, and pieces of walls that
had been repaired at different periods.  I entered one rock-hewn
sepulchre which contained seven small chambers; six of these had been
evidently broken into by main force, the seventh was still closed.  This
was S.W. of the Acropolis.

All the works or ornamentations above ground were of Greek or Roman
construction, but we found no inscriptions or coins.  Heshbon must have
been at all periods a strong place for defence, but with an unduly large
proportion of ornamentation to the small size of the city according to
modern ideas.  Before leaving this site, far inferior to 'Amman, as we
found afterwards, I got the Arabs around me upon a rising ground, and,
with a compass in hand, wrote down from their dictation the names of
sites visible to their sharp eyesight:--

To                                  To
S.S.W.            Umm Sheggar.      S.E.S.            Kustul.
   "              Neba (Nebo?).     S.E.              Umm el 'Aamed.
   "              Main.              "                Khan em Meshettah.
S.                Medeba.            "                Jawah.
S.E.S.            Ekfairat           "                Kuriet es Sook.
   "              Jelool.           E.                Samek.
   "              Umm er Rumaneh.   E.E.N.            Ela'al.
   "              Zubairah.         N.                Es-Salt.
   "              Manjah.           (The town         not visible.)

These must have been the places that "stood under the shadow of Heshbon,"
(Jer. xlviii. 45.)  One of them at least appears in Joshua xiii. 17,
etc., among "the cities that are in the plain of Heshbon." {17}

In half an hour we came to _Ela'al_, (Elealeh,) (Isa. xv. 4 and xvi. 9,
and Jer. xlviii. 34.)  Large stones were lying about, and one column
standing upright, but without a capital.  Fine corn-plains in every
direction around.  Our tents pitched at _Na'oor_ were visible to the
E.N.E. through an opening between two hills.  Cool cloudy day; all of us
enjoying the ride through wheat-fields, and over large unoccupied
plains--my old friend 'Abdu'l 'Azeez still adhering to me as his willing

On coming up to his camp at Na'oor, we found that Shaikh Deab had already

And now I may pause in the narrative to describe the _status_ of (1.)
ourselves; (2.) the Arabs.

(1.)  Although apparently forming one company of English travellers, we
were really a combination of several small sets, of two or three persons
each--every set having its own cook, muleteer, and dragoman; but all the
sets on terms of pleasant intercourse, and smoking or taking tea with
each other.

We calculated that our horses and mules amounted to above a hundred in

(2.)  The whole territory from Kerak to Jerash is that of our 'Adwan
tribe, but divided into three sections--the middle portion being that of
the supreme chief Deab, the northern third that of 'Abdu'l 'Azeez, and
the southern that of a third named Altchai in the south towards Kerak;
but they all combine when necessary for a general object.

The 'Adwan sow corn by the labour of their purchased slaves.  Gublan at
Cuferain, Deab and his son 'Ali at Nimrin, and a portion of the tribe
called "the children of Eyoob" cultivate in the same manner a tract near
the Dead Sea called the _Mezraa'_.  These latter attach themselves
sometimes to the Deab section, called the _Dar 'Ali_, and sometimes to
the Gublan section, called the _Dar Nim'r_.

Their district is but a comparatively narrow strip at present, as they
are pressed upon by the _Beni Sukh'r_ on the east, who are again pressed
upon by the _'Anezeh_ farther eastward; these last are allies of our

The Ghor or Jordan plain is open ground for all Arabs; and a few low
fellows called Abbad Kattaleen, hold a slip of ground downwards between
Es-Salt and the Jordan.  Es-Salt is a populous and thriving town, the
only one in all that country.  Kerak, to the south, may be as large, and
contain more remnants of mediaeval strength, but its affairs are not so

This station of Na'oor {19} is upon a long, low, green plain, lying
between two lines of high ground; and on a map, it would be nearly
central between the northern and southern extremities of the 'Adwan
country, or Belka. {20}

Strange and wild was the scene of the Bedawi encampment--the black tents
of goats' hair, the dark and ragged population sauntering about, the
flocks and the horses, the ragged or naked children; and then the women
in their blue, only article of dress, long-sleeved, their uncombed hair,
and lips dyed blue, all walking with dignity of step, most of them
employed in hanging up washed fleeces of wool to dry.  One in particular
I remarked for her stately appearance, with the blue dress trailing long
behind, and the sleeves covering her hands; she was giving commands to

As soon as we were well settled, and the first confusion over in making
our several arrangements with servants, etc., Shaikh Deab sent a
messenger asking permission for him to pay us a visit of welcome; and a
serious ceremonial visit took place accordingly.  The great man was
arrayed in green silk, and carried a silver-handled sword and dagger; a
few chosen men of the tribe formed his train; coffee, pipes, and long
compliments followed.  We all remarked his keen eyes, ardent like those
of a hawk in pursuit of prey.  On taking leave he announced his intention
of presenting each gentleman with a sheep for our evening meal.

As soon as the indispensable solemnity of his visit was over, the camp
became more animated; the sheep were slaughtered; various parties being
formed for the feast, which was finished by the Arabs; and I invited all
to my tent for tea at night, when the weather became so piercing cold
that I found it necessary to have some hot brandy and water to drink.

In this place I wish to say how excellent is animal food dressed
immediately after killing.  The practice is found, all through the Bible
histories, from Abraham entertaining the angels at Mamre, to the father
of the prodigal son killing the fatted calf for his reception.  At that
stage the meat is exceedingly tender and delicate; whereas, if left, as
the European practice is, for some time after killing, it has to go
through another and less wholesome process in order to become tender
again.  There are numerous medical opinions in favour of the Oriental
method of cooking the food immediately.

Another observation will not be out of place, on the almost universal
eating of mutton throughout Asia.  I do not mean the anti-beef-eating
Brahmins of India, but in all countries of Asia, by eating of meat is
understood the eating of mutton, and horned cattle are reserved for
agricultural labour.  In case of exceptions being met with, they are only
such few exceptions as help to prove the rule.  This may perhaps be
attributed to the general insecurity of animal property in the East; but
that I do not think a sufficient reason to account for it.  It seems,
however, that the ancient Israelites were not so much limited to eating
from the small cattle.

_Saturday_, 12_th_.--Thermometer 37 degrees just before sunrise, nearly
thirty degrees lower than under the same circumstances two days before.
The night had been cold and damp; the grass was found wet in the places
sheltered from the current of wind, which had elsewhere formed hoarfrost
over the field.  This reminded us of the elevation we had reached to; and
we all exclaimed as to the reasonableness of Jacob's expostulation with
Laban, when he asserted that "in the day the drought [or heat] consumed
him, and the frost by night," (Gen. xxxi. 40.)  We were upon frozen
ground in the month of May, after passing through a flight of locusts on
the preceding day.

A lively scene was the packing up.  'Abdu'l 'Azeez was happy at seeing us
all happy, and laying hold of a couple of dirty, ragged urchins, he shook
them well, and lifted them up from the ground, and offered them to me,
saying, "Here, take these little imps of mine, and do what you like with
them; send them to England if you will, for they are growing up like
beasts here, and what can I do?"  All I could do was to speak cheerfully
to them, and make them some little presents.  At the door of Deab's tent
was his bay mare of high race, and his spear planted beside her.  He
accompanied us as far as his own encampment, two or three hours over wide
plains and grassy pastures.  Soon after leaving Na'oor he took us up a
small hill, which was called _Setcher_, (probably _Setker_ in town
pronunciation,) where there were some ruins of no considerable amount,
but the stones of cyclopean size.  Query--Were these remains of the
primeval Zamzummim?  (Deut. ii. 20.)

At _Dahair el Hhumar_ (Asses' Hill) we alighted in Deab's own camp, not
large in extent or number of people, probably only a small detachment
from the main body brought with him for the occasion, but not such, or so
placed, as to interfere with the camp of 'Abdul 'Azeez.  However, the
well-known emblems of the Shaikh's presence were observed--namely, his
tent being placed at the west end of the line, and his spear at its
entrance.  Here took place the formality of returning his visit to us
yesterday; and here, after coffee and pipes, our presents were produced
and given.  The travellers were collected in a very long black tent,
together with Deab, his son and friends.  A screen at one end divided us
from the women's apartment, _i.e._, what would be the _Hhareem_ in houses
of towns; behind this curtain the women were peeping, chattering, and
laughing; of course we might expect this to be about the
extraordinary-looking strangers.  It has been conjectured that such a
separation of the tent is implied in Gen. xviii. 6 and 10, when "Sarah
heard it in the tent-door which was behind him;" but this has no
foundation in the plain narrative of Scripture, only in the Arabic
translation the words seem to imply that understanding.

The presentation of offerings was a grave and solemn affair.  Each donor
produced his tribute with an apology for the insignificance of the gift,
which was then exhibited in silence by an attendant to the populace of
the tribe crowding outside.

The ceremony was concluded by shouts of welcome, and a huge meal of
pilaff (rice and mutton upon a great tray of tinned copper) and leban,
(curdled milk,) with more smoking.  Here we took leave of the chief, who
sent on a detachment of his tribe to escort us for the rest of our

Remounted, and proceeded N.E. by N.; hitherto we had come due north from
Heshbon.  Passed a hill called _Jehaarah_, and in a short time reached
the source of the river of Ammon, rising out of the ground, with a large
pavement of masonry near it.  A numerous flock of sheep and goats were
being watered at the spring, it being near the time of As'r--_i.e._,

Here the antiquities of _Amman_ commenced; and remains of considerable
buildings continually solicited our attention, as we passed on for
quarter of an hour more to our tents, which we found already pitched and
waiting for us among a crowd of ancient temples and baths and
porticoes,--in a forum between a line of eight large Corinthian columns
and the small river; in front too of a Roman theatre in good condition.
Some of the party, who were familiar with the ruins of Rome and Athens,
exclaimed aloud, "What would the modern Romans give to have so much to
show as this, within a similar space!"

This was Saturday afternoon; and we had already resolved to spend our
Sabbath in this wonderful and agreeable place, so remarkable in Scripture
history, and so seldom visited by Europeans.

I climbed up the seats of the theatre, and rested near the top, enjoying
the grand spectacle of luxurious architecture around; then descended, and
walked along its proscenium; but neither reciting passages of Euripides
nor of Terence, as some enthusiasts might indulge themselves in doing,
before an imagined audience of tetrarchs, centurions, or legionaries, or

    "Romanos rerum dominos, gentemque togatam."

Close to this theatre was a covered and sumptuous building, which I could
not but suppose to be a naumachia, from its having rising rows of seats
around the central space, with a channel leading into this from the
river.  As the shadows of evening lengthened, the heat of the day was
moderated, and I sauntered along the bank of the stream till I came to a
large headless statue of a female figure lying in the water.  Some men
lifted it upon the green bank for me; but it was far too heavy to be
transported to Jerusalem for the Literary Society's Museum.

The swift-flowing rivulet abounded in fish, some of which the Arabs
killed for us, either by throwing stones or shooting them with bullets,
having no other means of getting at them; but the latter of these methods
was too costly to be often adopted.  However, we had some fish for dinner
in "Rabbah, the city of waters."  This stream is the commencement of the
Zerka, which we were to meet afterwards, after its course hence N.E. and
then N.W.

I feasted a dozen Arabs at my tent-door.  Shaikh 'Abdul 'Azeez laughed
when I remarked that this place was better worth seeing than Heshbon, and
said, "This is a king's city.  It was the city of King _Ghedayus_; and
Jerash, which is still more splendid, was built by _Sheddad_, of the
primitive race of the _Beni 'Ad_."  Beyond this, of course, it was
impossible for him to imagine anything in matters of antiquity.

In my evening's Scripture reading, I was much struck with the opening of
the 65th Psalm: "Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion,"--which passes
over all the examples of human achievement elsewhere, in order to
celebrate the peculiar and undying honours of Jerusalem.  So now the
Grecian and the Roman colonies, who erected the marvels of architecture
around me, are gone; while the Jewish people, the Hebrew language, the
city of Jerusalem, and the Bible revelations of mercy from God to man,
continue for ever.  But most particularly does this psalm, taken with the
circumstances there before our eyes, point out the difference made
between Ammon and Israel, and the reason for it, as predicted in Ezek.
xxv., 1-7:--"The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Son of man,
set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them; and say
unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God: Thus saith the Lord
God; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was
profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and
against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity; behold,
therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession,
and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in
thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk.  And I
will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couching-place
for flocks; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.  For thus saith the
Lord God; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the
feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of
Israel; behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and
will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off
from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I
will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord."

_Sunday_, 13_th_.--Dew on the grass; but it was the morning dew, which,
like human goodness, was soon exhaled.

After meditating on the chapters in Numbers and Deuteronomy which refer
to the conduct and destinies of Ammon and Moab, and reading Jer. xlviii.
and xlix. within "the flowing valley" of the 4th verse of the latter, I
was summoned to divine service in a tent fitted up for the
purpose,--carpets on the floor "honoris causa;" a table covered with
simple white, and a serious congregation of Englishmen before it, each
with his own Bible and prayer-book.  Thank God that to carry such books
about in the wildest deserts is a characteristic of my countrymen!

This city of _'Amman_ is "the city in the midst of the river" of Joshua
xiii. 9; and "Rabbah of the children of Ammon"--the royal city--"the city
of waters" of 2 Sam. xii. 26, 27:--to the siege of which Joab invited
King David, "lest he should take it, and it should be called after his
name."  Here was also deposited the huge iron bedstead of Og, king of

Under the Ptolemy dynasty--successors of Alexander--it was rebuilt, with
the name of Philadelphia.  Several of the best edifices here, now
partially ruined, belong to that period.

Under the Crusaders it was a flourishing city and district, retaining the
Grecian name.

I could not but reflect on the infinite prescience that dictated the
prophecies of the Bible--no tongue could speak more plainly to us than
the scene around us did, the fulfilment of the denunciations that these
cities of Moab and Ammon should remain _as cities_ "without
inhabitants"--"not a man to dwell therein"--and "driven out every man,
right forth, and none shall gather up him that wandereth"--"desolate" and
"most desolate."

In the afternoon we walked about to inspect the antiquities, and found
several remains of Christian churches with bell-towers attached to
them--certainly not originally minarets.  These edifices had been
afterwards, in Mohammedan times, converted into mosques, as evidenced by
the niche made in the south wall of each, pointing to Mecca; and there
are watch-towers for signals on all the summits of hills around.  The
city lies nestled in a valley between these hills.

The first building I examined was among those of the citadel placed upon
a lofty eminence commanding the city, the ground-plan of which building
is here shown--

              [Picture: Ground-plan of possible old church]

The interior of the walls was so profusely embellished with festoons of
roses and vine-grapes--both sculptured in stone and wrought in stucco,
and of very large size--that there was no room left for pictures or
images.  The roof of this building is almost all fallen in.  I imagined
this to have been a Christian church, of very remote antiquity, on
account of the vine and the roses, which are peculiarly Christian
symbols--alluding to the texts, "I am the true Vine," and "I am the Rose
of Sharon;" but the chambers in each corner are difficult to account for.
The east and west ends have no doors.

Near this is a square mass of masonry, upon which are standing six
columns, of magnificent dimensions, which no doubt originally supported a
roof.  Their capitals, of chaste and correct Corinthian style, with
portions of ornamental entablature, are lying near.  Perhaps belonging to
this, but at some distance, lies a ponderous piece of architrave, on
which, between lines of moulding, is an inscription in Greek--illegible
except the three letters--[Greek text].  These letters were nine inches
in length.

Nigh to this, again, was a square building of rabbeted stones, equal to
almost the largest in the walls of Jerusalem.

All down the hill, descending to our camp, were fragments of columns and
of decorated friezes of temples, that had evidently been rolled or had
slidden down from their places.

Upon various walls of dilapidated edifices I observed the curious marks,
slightly scratched, which almost resemble alphabetical characters, but
are not; and which have, wherever met with and wherever noticed, which is
but seldom, puzzled travellers, however learned, to decipher.  I copied
the following:--

                     [Picture: Bedaween Arab token 1]

And from the shaft of a column still erect, half way down the hill, I
copied the following:--

                     [Picture: Bedaween Arab token 2]

I have since learned that they are the tokens of the Bedaween Arabs, by
which one tribe is distinguished from another.  In common parlance they
are called the _Ausam_ (plural of Wasam) of the several tribes. {33}

In a valley to the north of us, leading westwards from the main valley,
we found a beautiful mausoleum tomb,--a building, not an excavation in
rock,--containing six sarcophagi, or ornamented stone coffins, ranged
upon ledges of masonry, along three sides of the chamber.  These were
very large, and all of the same pattern--the lids remaining upon some of
them, but shifted aside.  Beautiful sculptured embellishments were upon
the inside walls and over the portal outside, but no inscriptions to
indicate the period or persons to whom they belonged.  Inside, however,
were rudely scratched the modern Arab tribe-signs, showing that persons
of such tribes had visited there; so that Europeans are not the only
travellers who help to disfigure ancient monuments by scribbling.  Along
this western valley were several other such mausoleums.  Thence we
mounted on a different side to the summit of that hill from which I have
here begun my description of edifices--upon a gentle sloping road,
evidently of artificial cutting, quite feasible for ascent of chariots.

Near the square (possible) church before mentioned, (though I should say
that our party were not all convinced of its being a church,) is a
prodigiously large cistern, of good masonry.  From the top of the strong
walls of the building--while some Arab boys below me were reaching birds'
nests--I got from our guide the following list of sites in the
neighbourhood.  They were of course unable to discriminate between
ancient and modern names; and I do not find one Bible name among them

From north to west--
Thuggeret el Baider.                Esh-Shemesani.
Kassar Waijees.                     Esh-Shwaifiyeh.
Es-Salt.                            Umm Malfoof.
From west to east--
'Abdoon.                            Mesdar 'Aishah.
Umm es Swaiweeneh.                  El Mergab.
Towards the east--
Merj Merka.                             'Ain Ghazal.
   Ursaifah (in a valley with a
   El Muntar el Kassar, between two
artificial hills.

The people informed me of a place, a little nearer than Kerak, called
_Rabbah_.  This latter may be a _Rabbath-Moab_.

I have no further notes to transcribe respecting the architectural
remains; but they are so numerous and so important that a week would not
suffice for their thorough investigation.  All our party were highly
gratified at having visited this Rabbath-Ammon--_alias_
Philadelphia--_alias_, at present, 'Amman.  We were not, however, so
fortunate as Lord Lindsay in finding a fulfilment of the prophecy (Ezek.
xxv. 5) with respect to camels, either alive or dead.  Probably, when he
was there, it was soon after an Egyptian military expedition to Kerak.
The prodigious number of dead camels that he saw there would seem to
indicate that a great Arab battle had been fought at that place shortly
before.  It is only in this way that we could account for a cannonball
(about a six-pounder) which one of the boys carried about, in following
us, all the afternoon, wishing us to buy it of him as a curiosity.

On returning to the tents, I found an old Jerusalem acquaintance--a
Moslem named 'Abderrahhman Bek el 'Asali--and with him several people
from Es-Salt; among these a Christian named Abbas.

From conversation with them I got some fresh information on Arab affairs.
These people took the opportunity of glorifying their native town;
related how they are frequently at war, and that successfully, with the
'Adwan; and when acting in concert with the Abbad, or much more so when
in alliance with the Beni Sukh'r, can always repel them; only it happens
that sometimes the 'Adwan get help from the more distant 'Anezeh; and
this is much more than enough to turn the balance again.  But even now
the 'Adwan cannot come near the town; neither can they quite forget that
the Saltiyeh people, during a former war, killed both the father and
grandfather of Deab, and sent the head of the former to the tribe in a
dish, with a pilaff of rice.

All the strength of the 'Adwan now lies in Shaikh Deab, with his son
'Ali, (who came to welcome us near the Jordan,) and Gublan the nephew.
Old 'Abdu'l 'Azeez is considered childish, and unfit to lead them.

For us travellers, however, the 'Adwan are sufficient.  The territory is
theirs over which we are passing, and they do all they can to please us;
only, of course, like all Arab guides, they take every opportunity of
insinuating themselves into being fed by us, which is a condition "not in
the bond."

Then came a visit of three men with good-natured countenances.  These
were Bedawi minstrels from Tadmor, (Palmyra,) who wander about from tribe
to tribe, singing heroic poems to the accompaniment of their rebabeh, (a
very primitive sort of fiddle.)  No warfare interferes with the immunity
of their persons or property.  They are never injured or insulted, but
are always and everywhere welcome, and liberally rewarded.  Of course it
is for their interest to gratify the pride of their auditors by fervid
appeals to their ancestral renown, or to individual prowess and

The Arabic of their chants is unintelligible to towns-people; it is the
high classic language of Antar.

I had made acquaintance with these same men before at Tibneen Castle,
near the Lebanon, during a season of Bairam.  Being Sunday, we requested
them to visit our tents in the morning.  Our Arabs, however, and the
dragomans kept them singing till a late hour round the fires lighted
among the tents.  It was a cheerful scene, in the clear starlight, and
the lustrous planet Venus reflected in the running stream.

_Monday_, 14_th_.--After breakfast, and an entertainment of music from
our troubadours, and the bestowing of our guerdon, these left us on their
way to the other camp at Na'oor; and our packing up commenced.

Strange medley of costumes and languages among the grand colonnades.  Our
Arabs left us, having the luggage in charge, and indicating to us the
camping-ground where we were to meet again at night--thus leaving us in
care of the Saltiyeh friends of ours, who were to escort us to their town
and its neighbourhood, as the 'Adwan might not go there themselves.

Both the Christian and Moslem shaikhs of the town came to meet us on the
way.  The former was a very old man; and he could with difficulty be
persuaded to mount his donkey in presence of a train so majestic, in his
eyes, coming from the holy city of Jerusalem.

We passed an encampment of _Beni Hhasan_.  These people are few in
number, and exist under the shadow of the 'Adwan.

There were plenty of locusts about the country; but we soon came to a
vast space of land covered with storks, so numerous as completely to hide
the face of the earth, all of them busily employed in feeding--of course
devouring the locusts.  So great is the blessing derived from the visits
of storks, that the natives of these countries regard it as a sin to
destroy the birds.  On our riding among them they rose in the air,
entirely obscuring he sky and the sun from our view.  One of our party
attempted to fire among them with his revolver, but, by some heedlessness
or accident, the bunch of barrels, being not well screwed down flew off
the stock and was lost for a time; it took more than half an hour's
search by all of us to find it again, and the Arabs considered this a
just punishment for wishing to kill such useful creatures.

We traversed a meadow where Shaikh Faisel, with a detachment of the
'Anezeh, had encamped for pasture, and only left it thirty-five days
before.  His flocks and herds were described to us as impossible to be
counted; but our friends were unanimous in stating that his camels were
1500 in number.

Came to _Khirbet es Sar_, (_Jazer_?) whence the Dead Sea was again
visible.  Our Arabs declared that they could distinguish the Frank
mountain, and see into the streets of Bethlehem.  Here there is a mere
heap of ruin, with cisterns, and fragments of arches, large columns, and
capitals; also a very rough cyclopean square building of brown striped
flint in huge masses.

This site is three hours due north of Na'oor, in a straight line, not
turning aside to Deab's camp or 'Amman.  Northwards hence are the
well-wooded hills of _'Ajloon_.  To my inquiries for any site with a name
resembling Nebo, I was referred to the _Neba_, half an hour south of
Heshbon, which is given in the list taken down by me at Heshbon.

Proceeding northwards, we had the hills of _Jebel Mahas_ parallel on our
right hand; and to our left, in a deep glen below, was the source of the
stream Se'eer, which had flowed past us at _Cuferain_, our first
encampment after crossing the Jordan.

Arrived at the ruined town (modern in appearance) of _Dabook_, from
whence they say the _Dabookeh_ grapes at Hebron {39} had their origin;
but there are none to be seen here now (see Jer. xlviii. 32, 33)--"O vine
of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are
gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is
fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.  And joy and gladness
is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have
caused wine to fail from the wine-presses," etc.: with nearly the same
words in Isa. xvi. 8-10.

At a short distance upon our right was a ruined village called _Khuldah_.
This was at the entrance of woods of the evergreen oak, with hawthorn,
many trees of each kind twined round with honeysuckle.  There Shaikh
Yusuf, (the Moslem of Es-Salt,) who is a fine singer, entertained us with
his performances, often bursting into extemporaneous verses suitable to
the occasion and company.

On reaching an exceedingly stony and desolate place, he related the
original story of Lokman the miser, connected with it:--"Formerly this
was a fertile and lovely spot, abounding in gardens of fruit; and as the
Apostle Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him!) was passing by, he
asked for some of the delicious produce for his refreshment on the weary
way, but the churlish owner Lokman denied him the proper hospitality, and
even used insulting language to the unknown traveller, (far be it from
us!)  Whereupon the latter, who was aware beforehand of the man's
character, and knew that he was hopelessly beyond the reach of
exhortation and of wise instruction, invoked upon him, by the spirit of
prophecy, the curse of God, (the almighty and glorious.)  And so his
gardens were converted into these barren rocks before us, and the fruit
into mere stones."

Such was the tale.  But similar miraculous punishments for inhospitality
are told at Mount Carmel, as inflicted by the Prophet Elijah; and near
Bethlehem by the Virgin Mary.

From a distance we caught a distant view of the _Beka' el Basha_, or
Pasha's meadow, where we were to encamp at night, but turned aside
westwards in order to visit the town of Es-Salt.  Upon a wide level tract
we came to a small patch of ground enclosed by a low wall, to which a
space was left for entrance, with a lintel thrown across it, but still
not above four feet from ground.  On this were bits of glass and beads
and pebbles deposited, as votive offerings, or tokens of remembrance or
respect.  The place is called the Weli, or tomb, of a Persian Moslem
saint named _Sardoni_.  But it should be recollected that in Arabic the
name _'Ajam_, or Persia, is often used to signify any unknown distant
country to the east.

At _'Ain el Jadoor_ we found water springing out of the rocks, among
vineyards and fig and walnut trees, olives also, and pomegranates--a
beautiful oasis, redeemed from the devastation of Bedaween by the strong
hand of the town population.  Near this the Christian Shaikh Abbas, being
in our company, was met by his venerable mother and his son Bakhi.

In every direction the town of Es-Salt is environed by fruitful gardens,
the produce of which finds a market in Nabloos and Jerusalem.  The
scenery reminded me of the Lebanon in its green aspect of industry and

Entering the town we dismounted at the house of Shaikh Yusuf, and took
our refreshment on the open terrace, on the shady side of a wall.

Some of us walked about and visited the two Christian churches: they are
both named "St George," and are very poor in furniture.  Of course they
have over the door the universal picture in these countries of St George
on his prancing gray horse.  This obtains for them some respect from the
Mohammedans, who also revere that martial and religious hero.  Inside the
churches we found some pictures with Russian writing upon the frames; the
people informed us that these were presents from the Emperor Nicholas,
which is worthy of notice.

The ignorance of the priests here is proverbial all over Palestine.  I
have heard it told of them as a common practice, that they recite the
Lord's Prayer and the _Fathhah_, or opening chapter of the Koran,
alternately, on the ground that these are both very sublime and
beautiful; and it is said that they baptize in the name of the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost, and the Virgin Mary.  There is reason to believe
them very grossly ignorant; but it may be that some of these reports
about them emanate from the Roman Catholic authorities in Jerusalem, who
never hesitate at propagating slanders to the detriment of non-Romanists.

In a church porch I found a school of dirty ragged children reading the
Psalms from the small English printed edition; not, however, learning to
read by means of the alphabet or spelling, but learning to know the forms
of words by rote; boys and girls together, all very slightly dressed, and
one of the boys stark naked.

People came to me to be cured of ophthalmia.  I got out of my portmanteau
for them some sugar of lead; but it is inconceivable the difficulty I had
to get a vessel for making it into a lotion--bottles or phials were
totally unknown, not even cups were to be procured.  At one time I
thought of a gourd-shell, but there was not one _dried_ in the town; so
they told me.  I might have lent them my drinking-cup, but then I wanted
to prepare a large quantity to be left behind and to be used
occasionally.  I forget now what was the expedient adopted, but I think
it was the last named-one, but of course only making sufficient for
immediate use.  I left a quantity behind me in powder, with directions to
dilute it considerably whenever any vessel could be found; warning the
people, however, of its poisonous nature if taken by mouth.

One man came imploring me to cure him of deafness, but I could not
undertake his case.  In any of those countries a medical missionary would
be of incalculable benefit to the people.

There are ancient remains about the town, but not considerable in any
respect.  It is often taken for granted that this is the Ramoth-Gilead of
Scripture, but I believe without any other reason than that, from the
copious springs of water, there must always have been an important city
there.  The old name, however, would rather lead us north-eastwards to
the hills of _Jela'ad_, where there are also springs and ruins.

On leaving the town we experienced a good deal of annoyance from the
Moslem population, one of whom stole a gun from a gentleman of the party,
and when detected, for a long time refused to give it up.  Of course, in
the end it was returned; but I was told afterwards that the people had a
notion that we ought to pay them something for visiting their town, just
as we pay the wild Arabs for visiting Jerash.  What a difference from the
time of the strong Egyptian Government when Lord Lindsay was there!

At a distance of perhaps half or three-quarters of an hour there is a
_Weli_ called _Nebi Osha_; that is to say, a sepulchre, or commemorative
station of the Prophet Joshua, celebrated all over the country for the
exceeding magnificence of the prospect it commands in every direction.
In order to reach this, we had to pass over hills and plains newly taken
into cultivation for vineyards, mile after mile, in order to supply a
recent call for the peculiar grapes of the district at Jerusalem to be
sent to London as raisins.

Arrived at the Weli, we found no language sufficient to express the
astonishment elicited by the view before us; and here it will be safest
only to indicate the salient points of the extensive landscape, without
indulging in the use of epithets vainly striving to portray our feelings.
We were looking over the Ghor, with the Jordan sparkling in the sunshine
upon its winding course below.  In direct front was _Nabloos_, lying
between Ebal and Gerizim; while at the same time we could distinguish
Neby Samwil near Jerusalem, the Mount Tabor, Mount Carmel, and part of
the Lebanon all at once!  On our own side of Jordan we saw the extensive
remains of _Kala'at Rubbad_, and ruins of a town called _Maisera_.  On
such a spot what could we do but lie in the shade of the whitewashed
Weli, under gigantic oak-trees, and gaze and ponder and wish in
silence,--ay, and pray and praise too,--looking back through the vista of
thirty-three centuries to the time of the longing of Moses, the "man of
God," expressed in these words "O Lord God, Thou hast begun to show Thy
servant Thy greatness and Thy mighty hand: . . .  I pray Thee let me go
over and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain,
and Lebanon."  The honoured leader of His people--the long-tried man
"through good report and evil report," who, during his second forty years
which he spent as a shepherd in Midian, had been accustomed to the
abstemious habits and keen eyesight of the desert; and, at the end of
another forty years as the ruler of a whole nation, living in the desert,
"his eye was not dim,"--added to which natural advantage, we are told
that "the Lord showed him all the land," highly cultivated as it was then
by seven nations greater and mightier than Israel,--Moses must have
beheld a spectacle from Pisgah and Nebo, surpassing even the glories of
this landscape viewed by us from Nebi Osha.

Turning eastwards to our evening home, we passed a ruined site called
_Berga'an_, where we had one more view of the Dead Sea, and traversed
large plains of ripe corn, belonging, of course, to the people of
Es-Salt.  The people requested me to pray to God that the locusts might
not come there, since all that harvest was destined for Jerusalem.

We met some of the _'Abbad Kattaleen_ Arabs, but we were safe under the
escort of the Saltiyeh instead of the 'Adwan.  These 'Abbad are the
people who assaulted and plundered some seamen of H.M.S. "Spartan" in
1847, on the Jordan; for which offence they have never yet been
chastised, notwithstanding the urgent applications made to the Turkish
Pashas of Jerusalem, Bayroot, and Damascus.  We did not arrive at the
encampment till long after dark, and there was no moonlight.

The site is on a plain encircled by hills, with plenty of water
intersecting the ground; the small streams are bordered by reeds and long
grass.  A khan, now in ruin, is situated in the midst--a locality
certainly deserving its name, _Beka' el Basha_, and is said to have been
a favourite camping-station for the Pashas of Damascus in former times.

Much to our vexation, the Arabs and the muleteers had pitched our tents
in a slovenly manner among the winding water-courses, so that we had wet
reeds, thistles, and long grass, beetles and grasshoppers inside the
tents, which again were wetted outside with heavy dew.  They had done
this in order to keep the cattle immediately close to us, and therefore
as free from forayers as possible during the night.  Such was the reason
assigned, and we were all too hungry and tired to argue the matter

My people complained to me of the insolence of the Saltiyeh guides that
were with us; so I sent for the two shaikhs and scolded them.  They
persisted in it that they did not deserve the rebuke, that the complaints
ought to be laid against a certain farrier who had come over from
Jerusalem, etc., etc.  My servant ended the affair by shouting at them,
"Take my last word with you and feed upon it--'God send you a strong
government.'"  This at least they deserved, for they are often in arms
against the Turkish government: and although so prosperous in trade and
agriculture, are many years in arrear with their taxes.

_Tuesday_, 15_th_.--Early in the morning there were Saltiyeh people
reaping harvest near us, chiefly in the Christian fields; for here the
case is not as in Palestine, where Christians generally sow and reap in
partnership with Moslems, for their own safety; but the Moslems have
their fields, and the Christians have theirs apart, which shows that
their influence is more considerable here; indeed, the Christians carry
arms, and go out to war against the Bedaween, quite like the Moslems.

Before we left, the day was becoming exceedingly hot, and we had six
hours' march before us to Jerash.

The hills abound with springs of water.  We passed one called _Umm el
'Egher_, another called _Safoot_, also _Abu Mus-hhaf_, and _Tabakra_, and
_'Ain Umm ed Dumaneer_, with a ruin named _Khirbet Saleekhi_.

The 'Adwan Arabs were now again our guides, the Saltiyeh having returned
home; but for some distance the guides were few and without firearms,
only armed with spears, and the common peasant sword called _khanjar_;
perhaps this was by compact with the Saltiyeh, as in about an hour's time
we were joined by a reinforcement with a few matchlock guns.  On we went
through corn-fields, which are sown in joint partnership with the Arabs
and the Moslems of the town; then doubled round a long and high hill with
a ruin on it, called _Jela'ad_.  This I have since suspected to be
Ramoth-Gilead.  We descended a hill called _Tallooz_; forward again
between hills and rocks, and neglected evergreen woods, upon narrow
paths.  A numerous caravan we were, with a hundred animals of burden,
bright costumes, and cheerful conversation, till we reached a large
terebinth-tree under a hill called _Shebail_; the site is called
_Thuggeret el Moghafer_, signifying a "look-out station" between two
tribes.  There we rested a while, till the above-mentioned reinforcement
joined us.  From this spot we could just discern _Jerash_, on the summit
of a huge hill before us.

We now had one long and continued descent to the river Zerka.  Passed
through a defile, on issuing from which we observed a little stream with
oleander, in pink blossom, thirty feet high, and in great abundance.
Halted again at a pretty spring, called _Ruman_, where the water was upon
nearly a dead level, and therefore scarcely moving; then another small
spring, called _Bursa_, and also _'Ain el Merubb'a'_.

Evergreen oak in all directions, but with broader leaf than in Palestine;
also some terebinth-trees and wild holly-oaks.  All the scenery now
expanded before us in width and height and depth.

We took notice of several high hills with groves of evergreen oak on
their summits; detached hills, which we could not but consider as remains
of the ancient _high places_ for idolatrous worship.

Still descended, till on a sudden turn of the road came the rushing of
the _Zerka_, or Jabbok, water upon our ears, with a breeze sighing among
juniper-bushes, and enormous and gorgeous oleanders, together with the
soft zephyr feeling from the stream upon our heated faces--oh, so
inexpressibly delicious!  I was the first to get across, and on reaching
the opposite bank we all dismounted, to drink freely from the river--a
name which it deserves as at that place it is about two-thirds of the
width of the Jordan at the usual visiting-place for travellers.

Some of the party went bathing.  We all had our several luncheons, some
smoked, all got into shady nooks by the water-side; and I, with my heart
full, lay meditating on the journey we had hitherto made.

At length I had been permitted by God's good providence to traverse the
territory of Moses and the chosen people antecedent to the writing of the
Pentateuch, when they were warring upon Ammon and Moab.  How solemn are
the sensations derived from pondering upon periods of such very hoar
antiquity--a time when the deliverance at the Red Sea, the thunders of
Sinai, the rebellion of Korah and Dathan, the erection of the tabernacle,
and the death of Aaron, were still fresh in the memories of living
witnesses; and the manna was still their food from heaven,
notwithstanding the supplies from the cultivated country they were
passing through, (Josh. v. 12.)  Elisha did well in after times on the
banks of Jordan, when he cried out, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?"
And we may exclaim, in contemplation of these marvellous events of the
still more remote ages, "Where is the Lord God of Moses, who with a
mighty hand and stretched-out arm"--"redeemed His people from their
enemies; for His mercy endureth for ever!"  Nations and generations may
rise and pass away; phases of dominion and civilisation may vary under
Assyrian, Egyptian, Hellenic, and Roman forms, or under our modern
modifications; yet all this is transitory.  The God of creation,
providence, and grace, He lives and abides for ever.  His power is still
great as in the days of old, His wisdom unsearchable, and His goodness
infinite.  Ay, and this dispenser of kingdoms is also the guide of the
humble in heart, and He cares for the smallest concerns of individual
persons who rest upon Him.

Strengthened by these and similar reflections, with ardent aspirations
for the future, I rose up and pursued my journey, as Bunyan's pilgrim
might have done, under the heartfelt assurance that "happy is he that
hath the God of _Jacob_ for his help."

We were now leaving behind us much of the Old Testament country--not
exclusively that of the Mosaic era, but the land which had been trodden
by the patriarchs Abraham and Israel on their several removals from
Padan-aram to Canaan.  But, while looking back upon the grand landscape
outline with an intense degree of interest, it may be well to remark
that, among all our company, there was a feeling of uncertainty as to the
geographical boundaries of the lands possessed by the old people of
Ammon, Moab, and Bashan.  Probably there had been some fluctuations of
their towns and confines between the time of the exodus and the
prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah.

One thing is certain--that we all, with one heart, were confident that
God spake by Moses and the prophets; and that, with the incidents, the
people and the local names we had lately passed among, we might as soon
believe in the non-existence of the sun and stars, as that the books
called "The Law of Moses" are not in every word a record of infallible

We had now a different journey, and a different set of scenes before us,
entering into the half tribe of Manasseh.

                        [Picture: Triumphal Arch]

Ascending the steep mountain-sides with two of the guides, I preceded the
rest of the party, and even the baggage mules.  In perhaps half an hour,
(it may be more,) I came to a triumphal arch, the commencement of Jerash.
One of the guides told me that they call this the Amman Gate of the old
city; for that, in ancient times, there were two brothers, one named
Amman, and the other Jerash.  Each of them built a city, and gave it his
own name; but called the gate nearest to his brother's city, by the name
of that brother.

At this gateway I observed the anomaly of the columns on each side of the
principal opening, having their capitals at the bottom of the shafts, and
resting on the pediments, though in an upright position.  It was very
ridiculous.  When could this have been done--at the original erection of
the gate, or at a later rebuilding, after an earthquake had shaken the
pillars?  It would seem to me to be the former, as they are posted
against the wall, and this is not disturbed or altered.  The columns and
the curve of the portal are gone, so that it cannot be seen whether
originally they had capitals on the heads also of the columns.  It is
most probable that those remaining are not the true capitals, inasmuch as
they have no volutes.

Passing by inferior monuments of antiquity,--such as a sepulchre, a
single column, a sarcophagus, and then a square elevated pavement in good
condition, upon which are several sarcophagi, some of them broken, and
all with the lids displaced,--I came to a large circus of Ionic columns,
almost all standing, and joined to each other at the top by architraves.
Thence holding on the same direction forwards due north, our way was
between a double row of grand Corinthian columns with their capitals, and
occasional temples to the right and left.  At the termination of this,
but without continuing the same line, between columns of another Grecian
order, I turned aside, at a vast Roman bath, to a spring of water, the
commencement of a running stream, in a small meadow of tall grass and
thorns, intending to pitch my tent there; but soon changed my mind, and
got myself established within a wing of the Roman bath, which stood on
higher ground, and had a good roof upon it.

The other gentlemen on coming up, adopted the choice of their dragomans
and muleteers, near the water, after having the thorns and thistles
cleared away.  A fresh afternoon breeze that sprang up was peculiarly
grateful to men and cattle.

After some rest, I proceeded to stroll about,--first of all to the great
Temple of the Sun, on a rising ground to the west of the great colonnade,
which, besides the columns along all the sides of the edifice, has a
conspicuous portico in front, consisting of twelve magnificent Corinthian
columns, a few of which are fallen.  Thence I walked to the Naumachia,
near the southern extremity of the city, (that by which we had arrived,)
and found this in good condition, with the seats remaining, and the
channel well defined which conveyed water for the exhibitions from the
above-mentioned spring.  The form is a long oval, flattened at one end.

In passing once more between the double line of Corinthian columns, I
counted fifty-five of them standing, besides fragments and capitals of
the missing ones lying on the ground.

From this I diverged at right angles, through a street of small public
buildings, towards the bridge over the stream, (and this I called Bridge
Street--part of the pavement still remains, consisting of long slabs laid
across the whole width from house to house;) then upon the bridge, as far
as its broken condition would allow, and returned to my home--everywhere
among scattered fragments of entablature; numerous altars entire, and
sculptured with garlands; also broken buildings, with niches embellished
inside with sculptured ornament.  In all my exploration, however, I found
no statues or fragments of statues--the Mohammedan iconoclasts had long
ago destroyed all these; but there were some remains of inscriptions,
much defaced or worn away by the work of time.

The natural agencies by which the edifices have come to ruin seem to
be--first, earthquakes; then the growth of weeds, thorns, and even trees,
between the courses of stone, after the population ceased; or rain and
snow detaching small pieces, which were followed by larger; also
sometimes a sinking of the ground; and besides these common causes of
decay, there comes the great destroyer--man.

Yet nature is always picturesque, even after the demolition of the works
of human art or genius; and it is pleasing to see the tendrils, leaves,
and scarlet berries of the nightshade playfully twining among the
sculptured friezes which are scattered about in every position but
straight lines; or other plants between the volutes, rivalling the
acanthus foliage of the classic capitals.

Sunset: a beautiful landscape all around; and a pretty view of the
travellers' tents, the Arabs, and the cattle below me.

After dinner I walked by starlight along the Ionic colonnade, which is a
further continuation northwards of the Corinthian, and found nearly the
whole length, with the intermediate pavement, remaining, consisting of
squares about two feet in length, laid down in diamond pattern.

At night there were flickering lights and varieties of human voices
below; the frogs croaking loud near the rivulet; and the rooks, whom I
had dislodged from their home within the Roman bath, had taken refuge on
the trees about us, unable to get to rest, being disturbed by our unusual
sights and sounds.

_Wednesday_, 16_th_.--A visitor came early--namely, Shaikh Yusuf--with
two of his people from _Soof_.  The old man exhibited numerous
certificates given by former travellers--all English--whom he had
accompanied as guide either to Beisan or Damascus.  He offered his
services to take us even, if we pleased, as far as Bozrah.

Then came Shaikh Barakat el Fraikh with a large train.  He is ruler over
all the _Jebel 'Ajloon_, and has been residing lately on the summit of a
high hill rising before us to the east, where there is a weli or tomb of
a Moslem saint, the Nebi Hhood, who works miraculous cures.  Barakat is
in delicate health, and has twenty wives.  His metropolis, when he
condescends to live in a house, is at a village called _Cuf'r Enji_; but
his district comprises fifteen inhabited villages, with above three
hundred in ruins,--so it is said.

As for the saint himself, he has a very respectable name for antiquity,
too ancient for regular chronology to meddle with--it is only known that
he preached righteousness to an impious race of men previous to their
sudden destruction.  The circumstance of his tomb being on the summit of
a high hill is perfectly consonant with the sentiments of great heroes
and chiefs, as frequently expressed in poems of the old Arabs.  The
restoration of health which he is supposed to bestow, must be that
effected by means of the fine mountain air at his place.  At 'Amman, old
'Abdu'l 'Azeez had said that Jerash was built by the Beni 'Ad, a
primitive race mentioned in the Koran.

A ridiculous figure appeared of a Turkish subaltern officer, who has come
into this wild desert to ask the people for tribute to the Porte.  A
Turkish kawwas in attendance on him, I observed to shrug up his shoulders
when he heard nothing but Arabic being spoken among us.  They arrived
here in the company of Shaikh Yusuf, whose son is nominally a Turkish
military officer, commanding three hundred imaginary Bashi-Bozuk, or
irregular cavalry.  By means of such titles they tickle the vanity of the
Arab leaders, and _claim_ an annual tribute of 218 purses, (about 1000
pounds,) and are thus enabled to swell out the published army list, and
account of revenue printed in Constantinople. {58}

So that next to nothing is in reality derived from these few sparse
villages; and from the tent Arabs less than nothing, for the Turks have
to bribe these to abstain from plundering the regular soldiers belonging
to Damascus.

The 'Anezi Shaikh Faisel was encamped at only fourteen hours' distance
from us.

Common Arab visitors arrived--from no one knew where: some on horseback,
to see what could be picked up among us; even women and children.  They
must have travelled during the night.  A handsomely-dressed and
well-armed youth on horseback, from Soof, accosted me during one of my

I bought two sheep for a feast to the Arabs that came about my tent; but
they asked to have the money value instead of the feast.  Alas for the
degradation!  What would their forefathers have said to them had they
been possibly present?

Afternoon: a fine breeze sprang up, as is usual in elevated districts.  I
strolled again with an attendant--first outside the ancient wall on the
east side of the rivulet, where it is not much dilapidated; it is all
built of rabbeted stones, though not of very large size; then crossed
over to the western wall, and traced out the whole periphery of the city
by the eye.

In the great Corinthian colonnade, one of our party called me to him, and
showed me some inscriptions about the public edifices along that line,
and at the Temple of the Sun.  There was one inscription in Latin, on a
square pedestal; a similar one near it, broken across, had a Greek
inscription.  The rest were all in Greek, but so defaced or injured that
seldom could a whole word be made out.  However, we found, in a small
temple beyond the city wall to the north, in a ploughed field, an
inscription more perfect, containing the work _Nemesis_ in the first
line.  There also I saw several mausoleums, with sarcophagi handsomely
ornamented, and fragments of highly-polished red Egyptian granite
columns, to our great surprise as to how they had arrived there,
considering not only the distance from which they had been brought, and
the variety of people through whose hands they had passed since being cut
out roughly from the quarries of upper Egypt; but, moreover, the
difficulty to be surmounted in bringing them to this elevation, across
the deep Jordan valley, even since their disembarkation from the
Mediterranean either at Jaffa or Caiffa.

The inscriptions that I had been able to collect were as follows:--

                       [Picture: Two inscriptions]

Among all the hundreds of fragments of fine capitals and friezes lying
about Jerash, there was not one that was not too heavy for us to carry
away.  I found no ornamented pottery, although we had found some even at
Heshbon; neither coins, nor even bits of statues.  And remarkable enough
in our European ideas, so little space appeared for private common
habitations--as usual among ruined cities of remote antiquity--it seemed
as if almost the whole enclosure was occupied by temples or other public

Yet there must have habitations for a numerous population.  And, again,
such a city implies the existence of minor towns and of numerous villages
around, and a complete immunity from incursions of wild Arab tribes.
These latter were unknown to a population who could build such temples,
naumachia, and colonnades, and who were protected farther eastwards by
the numerous cities with high roads, still discoverable in ruins beyond
this--Belka and 'Ajloon.  But of how different a character must have been
the daily necessities of these old populations from the requirements of
modern European existence.  _We_ should not be satisfied with the mere
indulgence of gazing upon the aesthetic beauty of temples and colonnades.
Climate, however, has much to do in this matter.

At night we had a general conference at the encampment respecting the
future march, as we had now finished with the 'Adwan Arabs. {61}

The resolution was taken to proceed on the morrow to _Umm Kais_, under
the guidance of Shaikh Yusuf of Soof, and proceed thence to Tiberias.
He, however, would not ensure but that we might be met and mulcted by the
Beni Sukh'r for leave to traverse their territory.  He was to receive 500
piastres, (nearly 5 pounds,) besides 50 piastres for baksheesh; but
whatever we might have to pay the Beni Sukh'r was to be deducted from the
above stipulation.

_Thursday_, 17_th_.--Great noise of jackdaws under my vaulted roof at
break of day, they having mustered up courage to return to their nests
there during the night.

During the packing up of the luggage, I took a final and lonely walk
along the colonnades to the Naumachia, and outside the wall S.W. of the
Amman gate, where I observed some columns, or portions of such, of
twisted pattern; returned by the bridge.  The thrush, the cuckoo, and the
partridge were heard at no great distance, near the stream.

We left upon the meadow a parliamentary debate of Arabs gathered around
the chief's spear, all the men ranting and screaming as only such people
can, and they only at the beginning or end of a bargain.

Slowly we defiled in a long line over rising ground, higher and higher,
upon a good highway, bordered on each side by numerous sarcophagi; as
along the Roman Appian Way; passed the well of _Shaikh el Bakkar_, and a
sarcophagus with a long inscription in Greek, which I regretted not
having discovered yesterday, so as to allow of copying it.  From an
eminence we took the last view of the pompous colonnades of Jerash.

Away through the green woods of broad-leaved oak, among which were to be
found fine and numerous pine-trees, the air fragrant with honeysuckle,
and the whole scene enlivened by sweet song of the birds, there were
hills in sight all covered with pine.

Around Soof we found none of the druidical-looking remains mentioned by
Irby and Mangles, but some romantic landscape and vineyards all over the

Ten minutes beyond Soof we had a Roman milestone lying at our feet.  Some
of us set to work in clearing earth away from it, searching for an
inscription, but could not spare sufficient time to do it properly.  We
found, however, the letters PIVS . PONTI . . .--indicating the period of
the Antonines.

Next there met us a large party of gipsies--known, among other tokens, by
the women's black hair being combed, which that of the Bedawi women would
not be.  What a motley meeting we formed--of Moslems, Greek-Church
dragomans, Protestants, and Fire-worshippers, as the gipsies are always
believed in Asia to be.

Among the oaks of gigantic size and enormously large arbutus, the effect
of our party winding--appearing and disappearing, in varied costumes and
brilliant colours--was very pleasing.

After a time we reached some fine meadow land, on which were large flocks
of sheep belonging to the Beni Hhassan, whose tents we saw not far
distant.  The black and the white sheep were kept separate from each

And then appeared, in succession to the right and left, several of the
rude erections, resembling the Celtic cromlechs, or _cist-vaens_, above
alluded to, from Irby and Mangles.

                 [Picture: Erection resembling cromlech]

Our guides told us that they abound all over the hills.  All that we saw
were constructed each of four huge slabs of brown flinty-looking stone,
forming a chamber--two for sides, one at the back, and a cover over all,
which measured eleven feet by six.  Their date must be long anterior to
the Roman period.  They are manifestly not Jewish, and consequently are
of pagan origin.  Are they altars? or are they of a sepulchral character,
raised over the graves of valiant warriors, whose very names and
nationality are lost? or do they indeed partake of both designs--one
leading easily to the other among a superstitious people, who had no
light of revelation?

My persuasion is that they were altars, as they seldom reach above four
feet from the ground; and if so, they would serve to show, as well as the
uprights forming a square temple by the sea-side, between Tyre and Sidon,
that not in every place did the Israelites sufficiently regard the
injunction of Deut. xii. 3, to demolish the idolatrous places of worship.

Our road gradually ascended for a considerable time, till we attained the
brow of an eminence, where our woody, close scenery suddenly expanded
into a glorious extent of landscape.  Straight before our eyes,
apparently up in the sky, was old Hermon, capped with snow.  About his
base was a hazy belt; below this was the Lake of Gennesaroth; and nearer
still was an extent of meadow and woodland.

The commanding object, however, was the grand mountain,

       "That lifts its awful form,
    Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm.
    Though round its breast the rolling clouds be spread,
    Eternal sunshine settles on its head."

At this place we rested for a time.

All the day afterwards we kept upon high grounds, to avoid meeting any of
the Beni Sukh'r--thus greatly increasing the length of the day's march,
and having to scramble over rocky hills without visible paths.  All this
had been brought upon us by over-cleverness in bargaining with Shaikh
Yusuf, our guide.  We had stipulated that, in case of meeting with
Bedaween Arabs, whatever should be demanded as _ghufur_, or toll for
crossing their ground, should be deducted from his 500 piastres.  He had
informed us that the toll would be but a trifle; but after the burden of
it had been once thrown upon him, he avoided the best and direct road,
and we had hours of needless fatigue in consequence.

As a peasant himself, the Arabs allow him and his people to pass free, as
no doubt they exact enough from the village in other forms; but they
consider themselves entitled to levy tribute on European travellers.  The
latter, however, are always disposed to grumble at it.

We plunged again into thick green woods,--the oaks of Bashan,--with merry
birds carolling all around.  Oh, how cheering was the scene, after that
devastated land across the river, where there is so little of forest land
left in proportion to this!  A friend once remarked to me, that were the
two territories in the same relative conditions at the time of Joshua
taking possession of Canaan, it would require double amount of faith in
God's promises, as they ascended from Jericho to Ai, to believe that they
had not left the promised land behind them.  Now, this might be met by
several satisfactory replies; but the plainest answer for the moment is,
that the countries were not then in the same conditions relatively as
they now are.

We passed a rock-hewn sepulchre on the side of a hill, in good
condition,--just such as may be frequently seen in Palestine
proper,--then found a large herd of camels browsing; and passing through
a verdant glen, which issued upon cultivated fields, we came to the
village of _Mezer_, and soon after to _Tuleh_, where we got a view of
Tabor, Gilboa, and Hermon, {67} all at the same time.  Were the day
clear, there could be no doubt but we should have seen also the village
of Zer'een (Jezreel) and the convent on Mount Carmel.

The weather was hot, and our people suffering from thirst, as Ramadan had
that day commenced.

Had a distant view of a Beni Sukh'r encampment to our right.  After a
steep descent, and consequent rise again, we were upon a plain; and
therefore the guide counselled us to keep close together, as a precaution
against marauders.  Our tedious deviation to-day had been far to the
east: we now turned westwards, as if marching right up to Tabor, over
corn-fields, with the village of _Tibni_ at our left, and _Dair_ at our
right hand.

Arrived at _Tayibeh_, and encamped there for the night.  Among the first
people who came up to us was an Algerine Jew, who held my horse as I
dismounted.  He was an itinerant working silversmith, gaining a
livelihood by going from Tiberias among Arab villages and the Bedaween,
repairing women's ornaments, etc.

There are plenty of wells about this place, but none with good water.
Wrangling and high words among the muleteers, and fighting of the animals
for approach to the water-troughs.  The day had been very fatiguing; and
our Moslem attendants, as they had been involuntarily deprived of water
during this the first day of Ramadan, deemed it not worth while at that
hour to break the fast, as evening was rapidly coming on.  Upon a
journey, if it be a real journey on business, they are allowed to break
the fast, on condition of making up for the number of days at some time
before the year expires.

Evening: beautiful colours on the western hills, and the new moon
appearing--a thin silver streak in the roseate glow which remains in the
heavens after sunset.  The night very hot, and no air moving.

_Friday_, 18_th_.--After a night of mosquito-plague, we rose at the first
daybreak, with a glorious spectacle of Mount Hermon and its snowy summit
to the north.  Such evenings and mornings as travellers and residents
enjoy in Asian climes are beyond all estimation, and can never be

We learned that there are Christians in this village of _Tayibeh_, as
indeed there are some thinly scattered throughout the villages of _Jebel
'Ajloon_, _i.e._ from Jerash to near Tiberias; and in the corresponding
villages on the western side of Jordan, as far as Nabloos.

I always feel deeply concerned for those "sheep without a shepherd,"
dispersed among an overwhelming population of Mohammedans.  They are
indeed ignorant,--how can they be otherwise, while deprived of Christian
fellowship, or opportunities of public worship, excepting when they carry
their infants a long journey for baptism, or when the men repair
occasionally to the towns of Nabloos or Nazareth for trading business;
or, it may be, when rarely an itinerant priest pays them a visit?--still
they are living representatives of the Gentile Church of the country in
primitive days, down through continuous ages,--their families enduring
martyrdom, and to this day persecution and oppression, for the name of
Christ, in spite of every worldly inducement to renounce it.  While we
Europeans are reciting the Nicene Creed in our churches, they are
suffering for it.  They are living witnesses for the "Light of light, and
very God of very God;" and although with this they mingle sundry
superstitions, they are a people who salute each other at Easter with the
words, "Christ is risen," and the invariable response, "He is risen
indeed;" also in daily practice, when pronouncing the name of Jesus, they
add the words, "Glory to His name."

Besides all the above, they are in many things Protestants against Papal
corruption.  They have no Vicar of Christ, no transubstantiation, no
immaculate conception, no involuntary confession, and no hindrance to a
free use of the Bible among the laity.  For my part, I feel happy in
sympathising much with such a people, and cannot but believe that the
Divine Head of the Church regards with some proportion of love even the
humblest believer in Him, who touches but the hem of His garment.

In our conversation, before resuming the journey, I mentioned the
numerous villages that were to be found about that neighbourhood, utterly
broken up, but where the gardens of fig, vine, and olive trees still are
growing around the ruins.  The people pointed out to me the direction of
other such, that were out of sight from our tents; and the Jew quoted a
familiar proverb of the country relating to that subject; also the Moslem
shaikh, with his son, joined also in reciting it:--

    "The children of Israel built up;
    The Christians kept up;
    The Moslems have destroyed."

In saying this, however, by the second line they refer to the crusading
period; and by the last line they denote the bad government of the Turks,
under which the wild Bedaween are encroaching upon civilisation, and
devastating the recompense of honest industry from the fertile soil.

We--starting upon our last day's journey together--passed over wide
fields of wheat-stubble.  On coming near the village of _Samma_, the old
shaikh came out to welcome us, and inquire if his place is written in the
books of the Europeans.  On examining our maps, one of our party found it
in his; and the rest promised the friendly old man that his village
should be written down.

Proceeding through a green and rocky glen, between high hills, with a
running stream, the weather was exceedingly hot.  Here our party
divided,--ourselves advancing towards _Umm Kais_; while the baggage and
servants turned to the left, so as to cross the Jordan by the bridge _El
Mejama'a_ for Tiberias.  The principal intention of this was for the
property to avoid the chance of falling into the hands of the Beni
Sukh'r.  Shaikh Yusuf now showed the relief from his mind by beginning to
sing.  This was all very well for him, who had nothing to lose; because,
as it was said long ago--

    "Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator."

After wandering round and around, we descended into _Wadi Zahari_, "the
flowering valley," where, by the water-side, were reeds and oleanders
forty or fifty feet high; and near them we observed a pear-tree and a
fig-tree, all alone and deserted, the remains of former cultivation.
This and other previous instances attest the risk that attends rural
labour in that district, being in the immediate vicinity of the Bedaween,
and the utter mockery of nominal Turkish rule.  Here we filled our
leathern water-bottles, (called _zumzumia_ in the Desert, and _mattara_
by towns-people,) and climbed up a stony hill, the heat of the day
increasing.  No path among the rocks, and all of us angry at Shaikh Yusuf
for saving himself the few piastres by conducting us among such

Then, after some time we perceived ourselves to be near Umm Kais, by the
sarcophagi, the sepulchres, and ruts of chariot-wheels upon the rocks.
We rushed up to a large tree for refreshing shelter, and near it found
numerous sepulchres, highly ornamented, and some of them with the stone
doors remaining on the hinges, which we swung about to test the reality
of their remaining so perfect, (figs. 1, 2, 3.)

Among these was the one remarked by Lord Lindsay in his Travels, bearing
a Hebrew name inscribed in Greek letters, but which he has not

                            [Picture: Fig. 1]

given quite correctly.  It should be _Gaanuiph_ instead of _Gaaniph_.
This sepulchre is cut in black

                            [Picture: Fig. 2]

basaltic rock, and has some broken sarcophagi remaining inside.  On a
round fragment of a column, near this side, is the inscription given
below, (fig. 4.)  The upper part is the farewell of surviving relatives

                            [Picture: Fig. 3]

to the daughter of SEMLACHUS. The lower part, for whomsoever
intended,--"_and thou also farewell_,"--carries with it a touch of nature
that still affects the heart, after the lapse of many centuries.

                            [Picture: Fig. 4]

The mausoleums and sepulchres at the opposite end of the city were even
more numerous, many having Greek inscriptions upon them.

But the theatre is the most remarkable of all the objects of
antiquity,--so perfect, with its rows of seats complete, surrounded by
numerous public edifices and lines of columns; and then commanding from
those seats a large view of the beautiful Lake of Tiberias, and of the
grand mountains which enclose it, as a frame to the picture.

Here I stayed behind the rest of the party for a considerable time,
charmed with the spectacle of nature, and revolving over the incidents of
Herodian history, so vividly portrayed by Josephus.

Then rejoined my friends, by galloping along a Roman road, paved with
blocks of dark basalt.

But before leaving this place, I must express my surprise at any person
that has been there imagining for a moment that it can be the Gadara of

The distance from the lake is so great as to be utterly incompatible with
the recorded transactions in the Gospels--having valleys and high hills
intervening; and even supposing the miracle of relieving the demoniac to
refer not to the city but to a territory named Gadara, it is
inconceivable that the territory belonging to this city (Umm Kais) could
extend beyond the deep natural crevasse of the river _Yarmuk_, and then
rise up a high mountain, to descend again into a plain, all before
reaching the lake.

Our descent to the Yarmuk was long and steep; and upon the plain which it
intersects, the heat exceeded any that I had ever encountered anywhere.
The air was like fire.  Such a day I shall never forget.

The Yarmuk is so considerable a river that the Arabs call it _Sheree'a_,
as they do the Jordan--only qualifying the latter as the larger one.  It
is called the _Sheree'a el Menadherah_, from a party of Bedaween
occupying its banks in the interior.

The crevasse through which it issues is wild and romantic in the extreme.
High cliffs of basalt are the confines of the water.  This, on reaching
the plain, is parted with several streams, (to compare great things with
small,) in the fashion of the Nile or the Ganges; which the Jordan is
not, either at its entrance into this lake or its entrance into the Dead

All the streams are fringed with oleander; and, in the extreme heat of
the day, the horses enjoyed not only their drinking, but their wading
through the rolling water.

This was the boundary between Bashan and Gilead, through the latter of
which we had hitherto been travelling, and gave name to the great battle
A.D. 637, where the victory obtained by the fierce _Khalid_ and the mild
_Abu Obeidah_ decided the fate of Palestine, and opened the way of the
Moslems to Jerusalem.

Over an extent of four or five miles, before reaching the Jordan, a rich
harvest of wheat was being reaped upon the plain.  We first attempted to
cross at _Samakh_, but finding it impossible at that season, had to turn
back to the ford at the broken bridge, which the natives call the 'mother
of arches,' (_Umm el Kanater_;) and even there the water was still deep.

Corn-fields and flocks of sheep in every direction; but all the shepherds
carrying firearms.  We most of us lay down on our breasts to drink
greedily once more from the dear old river; and then we crossed the
Jordan into the land of Canaan, going on to Tiberias, and passing on the
way some Franciscan monks.  What a change of associations from those of
the country we had traversed exclusively for the last nine days!

How absurd the sudden and unexpected contrast from old 'Abdu'l 'Azeez and
the brilliant young 'Ali Deab in the freedom of the desert, to the cowl
and the convent of the monks--from the grand savage language of the
Ishmaelite to the mellifluous Italian.

At the hot baths of the lake we found our tents already pitched, and my
old friend the missionary,--Thomson, from Bayroot,--who had been
travelling on the eastern side of the lake, (a territory so little
known,) and, as he and I believed, had discovered the true Gadara.  We
compared notes about affairs of the Arabs at the time.

Several of the juvenile travellers set themselves to swimming before
dinner at sunset, the huge hills at the back casting long shadows across
the lake.

We all had tea together, as we were to separate to our several
destinations in the morning; and on my retiring to sleep, the thermometer
was at 99 degrees Fahrenheit inside the open tent.

_Saturday_, 19_th_.--Bathing before the sun rose.

Our travellers engaged the boat from Tiberias for the day, and it came up
from the town to our camp with the sail spread.  Large flights of aquatic
birds as usual flitting and diving about the lake, and the fish abundant,
rising and splashing at the surface.

For an hour or two before starting on my way southwards, I lay on the
beach contemplating the lovely scenery, and collecting my thoughts, both
as to the past and for the future.  The principal object of meditation
was of course the placid lake itself--

    "Dear with the thoughts of Him we love so well."

Then the noble old mountain of Hermon, crowned with snow, now called
_Jebel esh Shaikh_; which the Sidonians called Sirion; and the Amorites
called Shenir, (Deut. iii. 9.)

Next the ever-celebrated Jordan, with its typical resemblance to the
limit dividing this life from the purchased possession of
heaven,--recalling so much of bright images of Christian poetry employed
to cheer the weary pilgrim, in anticipation of the time when

    "We'll range the sweet fields on the banks of the river,
    And sing of salvation for ever and ever!"

Gratefully acknowledging the providence which had brought us happily so
far, the present writer then girded up his mental loins, and returned to
Jerusalem; but on the way occasionally glancing towards the eastward
range of mountains,--the land of Gilead,--now called Belka and 'Ajloon,
lately traversed; and with a feeling unknown since the verses were first
echoed in childhood, the words involuntarily issue from the lips:

    "Sihon, king of the Amorites,
       For His mercy endureth for ever,
    And Og the king of Bashan,
       For His mercy endureth for ever!"

Having learned that 'Akeeli Aga el Hhasi was encamped on the Jordan side,
at no great distance, I resolved to visit this personage, who has since
then become much more famous as a French protege, being an Arab of
Algeria, but at this time only noted as having been the guide of the
United States Expedition to the Dead Sea in 1848, and as being at the
moment commissioned by the Turks as a Kaimakam of the district, seeing
that they could not hold even nominal rule there without him.

At my starting there came up from his post a messenger, Hhasan Aga, the
Bosniac officer of Bashi Bozuk, to conduct me to the tents.  The Aga was
dressed in a crimson silk long coat, over which was a scarlet jacket
embroidered in gold, and on his legs the Albanian full kilt, or
fustinella, of white calico; his saddle cloth was of pea-green silk with
a white border, and yellow worsted network protected the horse's belly
from flies, also a rich cloth with tassels lay over the horse's loins.

Proceeded southwards, and passed the broken bridge before mentioned.
Harvest everywhere in progress, and the produce being carried home on
asses to the village of _'Abadiyeh_, adjoining to the houses of which
were square and flat tents made of palm-leaf matting as residences of the
Ghawarineh Arabs.

Came to the ruins of a wretched little village called _Belhhamiyeh_,
formerly under the patronage of the 'Adwan; and thence appeared in full
view upon the hill above the great castle of the Crusaders called
Belvoir, but now named _Cocab_, or _Cocab el Hawa_.  Upon the plain by
the river side was the encampment scattered about, and several European
tents among the others denoted the presence of Turkish soldiers.

We could see the Jis'r el Mejama'a, the bridge leading across to the land
of Gilead.

Rode up to 'Akeeli's tent, and found with him the formidable Shaikh Fendi
el Faiz of the Beni Sukh'r, and a musician with his rebabeh.  A slave was
making coffee on a fire of dried camel's dung, although it was in the
fast of Ramadan.  We conversed guardedly about Deab and the rest of the
'Adwan, and the camp at _Dahair el Hhumar_.  'Akeeli then had brought in
for his amusement a wild beast called a _fahh'd_, differing from a
panther in being larger and in having black stripes down the face; it
seemed wild enough, but was confined by a rope, the pulling of which, and
alternately patting the creature was the amusement or occupation of the
Aga.  They brought me some coffee and water to drink, whereupon 'Akeeli
called for some too, and said to me--"These fools of Mohammedans are
keeping Ramadan, but I am a Frenchman," he then drank off the water.
This man, whom Lynch, the American commander, styles a "magnificent
savage," was savage enough in manners, and dirty, and half-naked.  He has
since, however, made his influence felt, and may perhaps do so again.

Altogether, my reception was not one in accordance with my notions of
Arab hospitality.  Perhaps he did not wish me to espy what was going on
about him in company with Shaikh Fendi el Faiz, so I took my leave,
riding towards Cocab.  At an Arab encampment we got some _Leben
Sheneeni_, (soured fresh milk, most delicious in hot weather,) and drank
almost a pailful of it between myself, the kawwas, and the muleteer.  The
heat was prodigious.  In the camp were only women and children at home:
the former employed in weaving and dyeing woollen trappings for
horses,--serving to keep off the plague of flies,--of which articles we
bought two.

'Akeeli had sent an escort to accompany us as far us the castle.  One of
the men was a care-worn old fellow from the far north, wearing a very
heavy sheepskin coat with wide sleeves, to keep out the scorching heat of
the sun, and his face covered with a _mandeel_ or cotton handkerchief, to
protect him from reflection from the ground; his venerable musket
terminated in a rusty bayonet.

We went southwards until opposite the bridge, then turned westward to the
hills, and forded the water of _Wadi Berreh_.  The ascent was difficult
and long, during which our escort carried on a conversation in the
Arnaout language.

At the summit I sent on the servants and baggage to Jeneen, there to
pitch the tents for us--the sheepskin man, the kawwas, and I turned aside
to survey the old castle at Cocab el Hawa.  It has been a large and noble
erection in a strong natural position; the trench and sloping walls are
pretty perfect, the stone-work being still sharp-edged; the portion of
the defences looking towards the Jordan consists of large stones
rabbeted, equal to any work in Jerusalem or elsewhere, which must be an
indication of a fortress long before the time of the Crusaders--though
the stones are not of dimensions equal to those of the Jerusalem Temple

All the masonry, except the rabbeted work, is constructed from the dark
basalt which abounds in that district.  All the space within walls, not
remaining entire, and part of the trench, is occupied by miserable
hovels, forming a sort of village, with patches of tobacco cultivation
attached to the dwellings.

But what can one say in description of the glorious prospect from that
eminence?  It seemed to me to exceed the wonders of Nebi Osha: the
principal objects in view being the Lake of Tiberias, the river Jordan,
Tabor, Duhy, Beisan, Carmel, Hermon, a stretch of the Hauran, and the
cleft of the Yarmuk.  One thing surprised me, which was to see how far
South Cocab is from Tabor, it had never appeared so before from the
direction of Jeneen or of Nazareth.  It was due east from _Duhy_; the
best way of getting at it from Nabloos is across the plain of Jezreel.
It is distinguishable from a great distance by means of a white-washed
tower standing in the midst of the castle.

Forwards we went through a village called _Kifereh_.  As usual the ride
over the plain is very tedious and tiring to the limbs--a hilly country
in moderation is much more comfortable.  We reached _Shutta_, then the
tents of the Shiukh Arabs close under hills, and beneath a hill called
_Nooris_, and at a mill called _Jalood_, we were overtaken by rain late
in the year, being the 19th of May.

The sun set a good while before our arriving at Zer'een (Jezreel); the
road was not straight, for a _detour_ was necessary in order to ensure
firm ground among the marshes; stagnated water abounds, that has been
poured down from the hills of Gilboa.  We passed the natural cavern from
which the Jalood water issues on the side of a hill.  A large cistern is
formed at the place.  The inhabitants--such as we saw occasionally--were
very unhealthy in appearance.

Night came on, and dew with it, to which we had been long unaccustomed.
The storm cleared off, and we travelled several hours by moonlight.  Then
we saw abundance of fire-flies flitting across our way.

Overtaking our luggage, we all jogged on slowly together, very tired and
silent, till a horseman appeared, who galloped off on our inquiry, "Who
goes there?"

At length we heard the welcome sounds of frogs croaking, then dogs
barking, then saw the lights of Jeneen, and being Ramadan the minaret
there was illuminated with festoons of lamps.

Then we reached the appointed well-known grove of olive trees.

Our day had been very long and fatiguing--the cattle exhausted.  It was
Saturday night, and the week ended with the intelligence that Shaikh
Barakat el Fraikh had declared war against the Beni Sukh'r, so that we
had just passed through the Over-Jordan country in time to be able to do
so.  At Jerash I had met Barakat, and at 'Akeeli's camp had met his
adversary Fendi el Faiz.


                                                         October 23, 1850.

Leaving Jerusalem upon the Nabloos road, and crossing the upper portion
of the valley which, lower down, after a curve becomes the valley of
Jehoshaphat, we passed almost directly over the sepulchre of Simon the
Just, of whom such "excellent things are spoken" in the books of the
Maccabees, and in whose memory an annual festival is kept by the
Jerusalem Jews on this spot on the day called [Hebrew text] rather more
than a month after the passover.  Two other saints are celebrated on the
same day of the calendar--viz., R. Simeon bar Jochai, the cabbalist of
Safed, author of _Zohar_, and R. Akiva of Tiberias.

Then mounting up the side of Scopus, we halted for a few minutes to
survey that view of the holy city which surpasses all others, and must
have done so in the palmy days of history.  It was at the time of
mid-afternoon, when the sun's rays pour slantingly with grand effect upon
the Temple site.  I could not but recollect that this was exactly the
hour appointed for the daily evening sacrifice "between the two
evenings," (Hebrew of Exod. xii. 6,) and think of the choral music of
Levitical services grandly reverberating among the semicircle of hills.

Meditations of this nature would lead one far away in varied directions,
perhaps unsuited for the commencement of a long journey lying before us.

The next object attracting our attention was the Roman milestone lying
beside the road, shortly

                        [Picture: Roman Milestone]

after passing _Sha'afat_.  This I always make it a rule to examine every
time of passing it.  At one time I had it rolled over in order to be able
to read the inscription; but I afterwards found it tossed with the
writing downwards--perhaps all the better for its preservation.

The inscription I read as follows:--

                     [Picture: Milestone inscription]

That is to say, a register of the names of the Antonine emperors; but
there must have been other names on the upper part, now broken away.

Then passed under _Er Ram_ on our right hand, the Ramah of the Old
Testament, but as it is not often noticed, may be found in Jeremiah xl.
1, as the place where the Babylonish captain of the guard, as a favour,
released the prophet, after bringing him with the rest in chains from

Slept in a house at _Ram Allah_.  This is a village about three-quarters
of an hour N.W. from Er Ram.  The weather being cold we first lit a fire,
thereby trying the utility of a chimney that was in the house--in vain,
for no smoke would pass up it; it all settled in the room itself; and the
people excused themselves on the ground that it had never been tried
before.  Probably it was a novelty imported to the place by some of the
people who had been employed by Europeans in Jerusalem; and yet I have
always found that the old Saracenic houses of the Effendis in Jerusalem
have all of them chimneys; and the word for _chimney_ is well known in

This being almost exclusively a Christian village, it was interesting to
hear the people addressing each other as Peter, James, Elijah, John,
Paul, etc., instead of Mohammed, Ali, Omar, or other such appellations.
It is a little beside the purpose, but I may remark in passing, that
throughout these countries there are names in use common to all
religions,--some scriptural, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, or David;
and others mere epithets, as Assaad or Selim.

In this village are three priests, (Greek orthodox,) idle, ignorant, and
coarse men; but the peasantry are a bold set of fellows, speaking and
acting very independently of clerical domination,--very indifferent as to
whether they shall turn Protestants or Papists.  One thing they are in
earnest about, and that is to get schools for their children.

Ram Allah exhibits the same characteristic as all other Christian
villages in Palestine, that of being in good condition--new houses being
built, and old ones repaired; contrary to the condition of Moslem
villages, almost without one exception--that of falling to decay.  There
is, however, no water here; the women bring it in jars upon their heads
from _Beeri_, a considerable distance.

We made a _detour_ from the high-road, in order to look for _Jifna_, the
_Gophna_ of Josephus, where Titus and his renowned Tenth Legion (recently
arrived from Britain) slept the night before reaching Jerusalem.  Then
the Eagles were gathered together over the doomed carcass of the city.
Inquiring our way from Ram Allah to Jifna, some said there was a road
without going to Beeri; some said there was none.  At length we were put
upon a pretty decent path.

In ten minutes we came to a sort of well with a little water, where women
were thumping clothes upon stones; this is called washing in the East.
Magnificent view westwards of the great plain, the Great Sea, Jaffa,
Ramlah, etc.

We wandered about hills and among vineyards, and came to a small village
named _Doorah_, in good condition, with water, and excellent cultivation
of garden vegetables in small patches, similar to those of Selwan
(Siloam) and Urtas; then turning a corner saw Jifna at some distance, in
the midst of a plain enclosed by hills; and there it must have been that
the manipulus with S.P.Q.R. was posted in front of Italian tents, and the
soldiers bustling about or jesting in Latin or British language, before
their retiring to rest, in the spring season of the year A.D. 70.

Becoming entangled among a long belt of vineyards between us and it, and
time passing away while our luggage was far on the road to Nabloos, we
turned aside and regained the high-road at _'Ain Yebrood_.  Reluctantly I
retreated from _Jifna_, for I had wished to discover the precise road
upon which Titus and his army marched towards Jerusalem.  Passing
_Sinjil_, _Lubban_, and _Sawiyeh_, we rested just beyond _Sawiyeh_ under
the great oak, at the divergence of the valley of _Laithma_.  Beneath its
wide-spreading branches a flock of sheep was resting at noon (Cant. i.
7.)  From these we got good draughts of fresh milk.

As evening approached, we were passing within the huge shadow of Mount
Gerizim; and in Nabloos I remained till Monday morning,--this being the
end of Thursday.

28_th_.  Preparing for descent into the Jordan valley, I engaged, in
addition to the usual servants, a horseman of the Bashi Bozuk,
recommended by the local governor, Suliman Bek Tokan.  It seemed prudent
to obtain this man's attendance, as he might be known and recognised by
disorderly persons throughout the turbulent and unknown country before
me, whatever might be his character for valour or discretion.  Two of the
native Protestants of Nabloos accompanied me also for about four hours on
the way.

Passing Joseph's sepulchre and the village of _Asker_, (is not this
Sychar? it is near the traditional Jacob's Well,) we went northwards over
the plain of _Mukhneh_, equivalent to Makhaneh, "camp," in Hebrew, (the
_Moreh_ of Gen. xii. 6, Deut. xi. 30, and Judges vii. 1) having left the
eastern valley with _Salem_ (Gen. xxxiii. 18) on our right.  To my
surprise the plain was soon and abruptly terminated at the foot of a very
lofty mountain, and we commenced a descent among chasms of great
convulsions of nature, displaying remarkable contortions of geological
strata.  This brought us into the Wadi _En-Nab_, so called from the
growth there of a fruit-tree, (the Jujube,) bearing that name, better in
quality than anywhere else in Palestine; and, indeed, the tree is found
in but few other places.  At the confluence of this valley with the Wadi
_Bedan_ there are several fragments of ancient columns remaining, quite
four feet in diameter.

Hitherto we had met many more peasants travelling with merchandise than I
had expected.  They were all going in one direction, namely, towards
Nabloos, and therefore from Es-Salt in Gilead, beyond Jordan.

These, however, ceased after we had crossed the water of Wadi Bedan into
the larger _Wadi Fara'ah_,--which is, however, the high-road to Es-Salt.

Soon afterwards we observed, by our wayside, a square of solid ancient
masonry, three courses high.  In England this would be certainly the
pedestal of some old demolished market-cross; but it may have been the
lower part of some memorial pyramid.  In the previous year I had seen
just such another at Ziph (Josh. xv. 55,) beyond Hebron.

Then we came upon a distinct piece of Roman paved road, which showed that
we were upon the high-road between Neapolis and Scythopolis, _alias_
Shechem and Bethshan, _alias_ Nabloos and Beisan.--Crossed a stream
richly bordered with rosy-blossomed oleander, and soon turned the head of
the water.  A demolished castle was on our right, commanding the entrance
of Wadi Fara'ah.

Soon after noon we gained the olive-trees alongside of _Tubas_, a
prosperous village, yet inhabited by a people as rude and coarse as their
neighbours.  Tubas is always liable to incursions from the eastern
Bedaween, and always subject to the local wars of the Tokan and 'Abdu'l
Hadi factions.  I have known it to be repeatedly plundered.  The natural
soil here is so fertile that its wheat and its oil, together with those
of _Hanoon_, fetch the highest prices in towns; and the grain is
particularly sought after as seed for other districts.

The place, however, is most remarkable to us as being the _Thebez_ of
Judges ix. 50, where Abimelech was slain by the women hurling a millstone
on his head from the wall.  The more I become acquainted with the
peculiar population of _Jebel Nabloos_, (_i.e._ the territory of which
Nabloos is the metropolis,) a brutish people "waxing fat and kicking,"
the more does the history of the book of Judges, especially the first
twelve chapters, read like a record of modern occurrences thereabouts.
It is as truly an Arab history as any other oriental book can supply.  I
observed that Mount Gerizim can be seen from Tubas,--which fact seemed to
give additional emphasis to the words, "And all the evil of the men of
Shechem did God render upon their heads; and upon those came the curse of
Jotham, the son of Jerubbaal."

The site of Tubas is elevated.  It is still a considerable village, and
possesses that decided evidence of all very ancient sites in Palestine--a
large accumulation of rubbish and ashes.

I was told that here, as well as in several of the villages around, there
are scattered Christians, one or two families in each among the Moslems,
without churches, without clergy, without books or education of any kind;
still they are Christians, and carry their infants to the Greek Church in
Nabloos for baptism.  What a deplorable state of things!  Since the date
of this journey the Church Missionary Society's agents have in some
degree ministered to the spiritual destitution of these poor people by
supplying some at least with copies of the Holy Scriptures.

Here my principal kawwas, Hadj Mohammed es Serwan, found the fever, which
had been upon him more or less for the last three days, so greatly
increased, that it was not possible for him to proceed farther with me.
The fever he attributed to his having, on arrival at Nabloos, indulged
too freely in figs and milk together.  The general experience of the
country warrants this conclusion.

Poor fellow! after several times dismounting, and renewing his efforts to
keep up with me, he was at length totally disabled; and our Protestant
friends, who were now about to return home, engaged to get him into the
village, and have him carefully attended to, there and at Nabloos, till
he should be able to return to his family at Jerusalem.  I left him under
a large tree, gazing wistfully after me, and endeavouring to persuade me
not to go down to that Gehennom of a place, Beisan. {94}

My forward journey lay through fine olive-grounds and stubble-fields of
wheat.  In an hour we passed _Kayaseer_, a wretched but ancient place,
with exceedingly old olive-trees about it.  Then going on for some time
among green bushes and straggling shoots of trees, we descended to the
water-bed of a valley.  Once more upon a Roman road, on which at twenty
minutes' distance was a prostrate Roman milestone, but with no
inscription to be seen; perhaps it was on the under side, upon the
ground.  Then the road, paved as it was with Roman work, rose before us
on a steep slope, to a plain which was succeeded by the "Robbers'
Valley," (Wadi el Hharamiyeh,) in which we met two peasants driving an
ass, and inquired of them "Is the plain of the Jordan safe?"--meaning,
Are there any wild Bedaween about?  The reply was "It is safe;" but the
whole conversation consisted of four words in the question, and one in
the answer.

Over a precipitous and broken rocky hill,--the worst piece of road I ever
met with,--till we came suddenly upon the grand savage scenery of the
Ghor, with the eastern barrier of the mountains of Gilead.  The river
Jordan is not visible, as is the case in most parts, till one almost
reaches the banks.

Here the vegetation had changed its character,--leaving all civilisation
of olive-trees behind, and almost all consisting of oak and hawthorn.  We
had instead the _neb'k_ or _dom-tree_, and the _ret'm_ or juniper of
Scripture; the heat excessive.

At the junction of the Valley with the Ghor are three Roman milestones,
lying parallel and close side by side,--all of them in the shape and size
stereotyped throughout the country.  This, then, was probably a measured
station of unusual importance; and from it the acropolis of Bethshan just
comes into view.  This is known in the country by the name of _El

The ground was in every direction covered with black basalt fragments,
among which, however, was corn stubble remaining; and we were told that
the crop belonged to the people of Tubas.

We kept upon a straight path leading directly up to Beisan, which all the
way was intersected by running streams issuing from the hills on our
left, and going to the Jordan.

The water was not often good for drinking; but at most of these rivulets
our attendant, Suliman Bek's horseman, alighted to say his prayers, out
of fright on account of the Arab Bedaween.

Tabor N.W. and Hermon N.E. were both prominent objects in the landscape,
with the town of Beisan between the two,--the ground abounding in the
kali plant and neb'k trees, with bright yellow fruit, from which we
frequently saw clearly desert camels cropping the lower branches,
notwithstanding the long and sharp thorns upon them.

We marched straight on, from one ancient artificial mound to another,
with Beisan before us, the streams all the way increasing in width and
rapidity,--some of them bordered, or even half-choked, with a jungle of
oleander in flower, hemlock, gigantic canes, wild fig-trees, neb'k, and
tangled masses of blackberry.  Some of them we had to ford, or even leap
our horses over.  We were surprised at such torrents of water rushing
into the Jordan at such a season of the year.

Reached Beisan at half-past six,--a wild-looking place, with magnificent
mountains in every direction around, but all frowning black with volcanic
basalt; and the people horribly ugly--black and ferocious in physiognomy.
They were just in the busiest time of the indigo harvest; but they had
herds of very fine cows brought home, as the sun in setting threw over us
the shadow of the mountains of Gilboa.  My companion from Jerusalem
looked up with horror to these hills, and began quoting the poetic
malediction of David upon them on account of the death of Saul and
Jonathan: "Let there be no dew, neither rain upon you, nor fields of
offerings," etc.

It was indeed a notable event in one's life to have arrived at the place
where the body of the first king of Israel, with that of his son, the
dear friend of David, after being beheaded, were nailed to the walls of
the city.  Jabesh-Gilead could not have been very far off across the
Jordan; for its "valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body
of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, from the walls of Bethshan, and came
to Jabesh, and burnt them there.  And they took their bones and buried
them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days," (1 Sam. xxxi. 12,
13).  This respectful treatment was by way of grateful recompense for
Saul's past kindness, as the very first act of his royalty had been to
deliver them from danger when besieged by Nahash the Ammonite (I Sam.
xi.); and they kept his remains till king David removed them into the
ancestral sepulchre within the tribe of Benjamin (2 Sam. xxi. 14).

To return.  The people of Beisan urged upon us their advice not to sleep
in our tents, for fear of Arabs, who were known to be about the
neighbourhood.  I however preferred to remain as I was; and many of the
people slept around the tents upon heaps of indigo plant, making fires
for themselves from the straw.  Before retiring to sleep, I several times
found the horseman at his prayers by moonlight.  During the night the
roaring of the water-torrents re-echoed loudly from the rocky hills.

29_th_.--We learned that the indigo cultivation is not very laborious.
The seed is scattered over the ground, and then the people turn the
streams over the surface for inundation.  There is no ploughing.  This is
done directly after barley-harvest from the same ground.  There is no
produce for two years, but after that period the same stalks successively
for five years produce about seventy-two-fold.  I bought a timnah
(measure) of the seed for curiosity, to deposit in our museum.

We finished breakfast, had the tents struck, and the mules laden, all
before the sky began to look red, announcing the coming sun.

The castle of 'Ajloon was a very conspicuous object on the mountainous
horizon of the east.

I then spent about three hours in exploring the Roman antiquities of the
place when it bore the name of Scythopolis.  These are all contained
within or along a natural basin, of which I here give a rough map.

                          [Picture: Scythopolis]

The general form is that of an oval, the centre of which has four
pediments for the arch of a bridge, or a triumphal arch, over a rivulet
that traverses the whole obliquely.  From this central square of four
pediments extends right and left one long colonnade, or dromos.  Within
the basin, but on the south bank of the water, is the theatre; on the
north, and outside of the oval, is the lofty mound, surmounted by
fortified buildings, forming the acropolis, the _Hhus'n_, which is
visible for miles and miles over the country.  In the S.E. corner is the
modern village--a very insignificant one, but with remains of a Christian
church, for I should suppose the Moslems never built so good a mosque at
Beisan.  Of course the present inhabitants use it for their devotions.
The building is all angular, with a square tower at the south end.  The
principal doorway--that at the north end--is perforated into a walled-up
large pointed arch.

The principal object of my curiosity was the theatre, which, like all
those of the Romans and Greeks, is a building of nearly a semicircle in
form, with the extremities connected by a chord or straight line; this
latter was the _proscenium_ or stage, and is near 200 feet in length.
Upon the ground-plan, at half distance from the centre to the outer
curve, the _vomitories_ or passages for entrance and exit begin, leaving
an open area; these are formed in concentric semicircles, divided across
by radii, all coming from the one centre.

Over these passages the seats for spectators are constructed, rising
higher as approaching to the outer curve--and the dens for the wild
beasts, when they were to be exhibited, were under the front seats.  The
vomitories are of the most perfect design for utility, and still remain
in complete preservation, all vaulted over with admirable workmanship.

                  [Picture: Ground plan of the Theatre]

I looked about in vain for the indentings in front of the rows of seats
which had held the [Greek text] or brazen saucers, which indentings are
stated to have been seen by Irby and Mangles; but we know that the [Greek
text] were so placed in ancient theatres for increasing the power of
voice uttered upon the stage.

The front blocks of the stage are white, and these are brought from a
distance.  They measure eight feet by four each.  But the peculiarity of
the general building lies in its being built of the black stone of the
country adjacent.  I afterwards saw Roman theatres at Amman and Umm Kais,
as already mentioned in the journey "Over the Jordan," but they were
white; and another at Petra, but that was of rosy red.  All the
three--the black, the white, and the red--were each of its own one
colour, without intermixture of others, except that here the stage was of
another colour from the rest of the building.

I then prepared to mount to the acropolis or Hhus'n.  The hill is shaped
as an oblong square, sloping downwards, and rounded at the four edges.
Steps have been cut into it for ascending from below.

Arriving at what appears from below to be the summit, but is not, I found
a large platform, improved by art, with remains of houses and cisterns,
and surrounded at the edge by a parapet wall five feet thick,--except at
the eastern end, opposite to the present town, where one-third of the
hill has been left rising considerably higher, and therefore a wall is
not required.

In this wall, at the N.W. side, I found remains of a very massive
gateway, with fragments of older columns and friezes built up into the
side work.  At this spot the rising hill above is particularly
precipitous.  I climbed to the extreme summit, but found there no remains
of human labour.  The view, however, as may be supposed, amply repaid the
exertion.  In one direction the prolonged Ghor of the Jordan; and in
another appeared the opening of the plain of Esdraelon and Tabor, with
the Mediterranean far away, and Carmel almost hull down, as one might say
of a ship.  In the nearer distance were lines of black Arab tents, an old
khan, ruins of water-mills, and rushing rivulets in abundance, the
sources of which lie so high in the adjacent hills of Gilboa, that the
town and the irrigation of the district are supplied from them copiously.

I picked up some tesserae about the acropolis hill, but I saw none
elsewhere near Beisan,--discovered no inscriptions, and heard of no

Close to the town there were thick layers of calcareous sediment,
containing petrified reeds or canes, of which I brought away specimens
for our museum.

Thus ended my inspection of this really interesting place, so remarkable
for being all built of black volcanic stone,--the theatre, the church,
and the modern village, besides the rocks all about: add to this the vile
appearance of the people, and one cannot wonder at visitors entertaining
a dread and disgust at the whole.--I find that I have omitted to mention
the mineral quality of the water, the most of which is undrinkable.

We left Beisan at half-past nine, after examining it more completely than
the published accounts of former travellers lead us to believe they have
done.  Thomson's account is of later date.

Our journey now lay due north, along the Ghor to Tiberias; and a very
pleasing journey it proved to be.

In half an hour we had to ford a pretty wide stream, and in five minutes
more were among very extensive ruins of an ancient town; upon a tumulus
at its farther extremity are lying portions of three huge sarcophagi, and
a portion of a thick column.  This must be the "Es Soudah," (_i.e._,
_black_,) mentioned by Thomson--indeed, all ruins of that district are of
black basalt, excepting the columns and sarcophagi.  The name _soda_ or
_black_ occurs in English as a synonym for _alkali_, and means the black
or dark-coloured ashes of the plant _al-kali_ when burnt for use--the
white colour of it seen in Europe is obtained by chemical preparation.

Black tents and fires of the kali burners were visible in many
directions--a delicious breeze blowing in our faces; but above everything
cheerful was the green line of the Jordan banks.  No snow to be seen at
present at that distance upon Hermon.  At half-past eleven we were
beneath some castellated remains of great extent, namely, the Crusaders'
_Belvoir_, now called _Cocab el Hawa_.  Our ground had become gradually
more undulated; then hilly, and the Ghor narrowed: we were obliged to
cross it diagonally towards the Jordan; forded a running stream abounding
in oleander, where, according to his usual custom, my Egyptian servant
took a handful of the flowers to wear in his waistcoat.  Then the birds
carolling so happily, recalling the well-known lines--

    "And Jordan, those sweet banks of thine,
    With woods so full of nightingales."

The songsters that I heard were certainly neither the linnets nor
goldfinches of other parts of Palestine, but must have been the _bulbul_,
the note of which, though rich and tender in expression, is not however
the same with that of English nightingales.

Then we came to the bridge called _Jis'r el Mejama'a_, which is in
tolerably good condition, with one large and several smaller arches in
two rows, and a dilapidated khan at the western end.  I crossed over the
bridge into the territory of Gilead.

The khan has been a strong edifice, but the stones of the massive
gateway, especially the great keystone, are split across, as if from the
effects of gunpowder.

When that bridge was erected, the country must have been in safe and
prosperous circumstances; the beauty of the scenery was not found in
contrast to the happiness of the people; there must have been rich
commerce carried on between the far east and the towns of Palestine; and
it is in reference to such a fortunate period that the wandering
minstrels, even now among the Bedaween, sing the songs of the forty
orphan youths who competed in poetic compositions under the influence of
love for an Arab maiden at the bridge of Mejama'a.

The name is derived from the _meeting_ of two branches of the Jordan in
that place after having separated above.  Below the bridge the bed of the
river is very rocky, and the course of the water disturbed, but above the
"meeting of the waters" all is beautifully smooth and tranquil; wild
aquatic birds enjoying their existence on its surface, and the banks
fringed with willows and oleanders.  How grateful is all this to the
traveller after a scorching ride of several hours.

Then the river, and with it our road, deflected back to the western
hills; again the river wound in serpentine sinuosities about the middle
of the plain, with little islands and shallow sands within its course.  I
am not sure that the delight we experienced was not enhanced by the
circumstance of travelling upwards against stream.  Whenever tourists
find the country safe enough for the purpose, and have leisure at
command, I certainly recommend to them this district of Jordan, between
Beisan and Tiberias: of course this presupposes that they visit Nazareth
before or afterwards.

Occasionally we came to rings of stones laid on the ground,--these mark
the graves of Arabs of the vicinity; then a cattle enclosure, fenced in
by a bank of earth, and thorns piled on the top.  All about this were
subterranean granaries for corn, having apertures like wells, but empty.
Close to this was a ford to the eastern bank.  The river has many
interruptions certainly, but yet in two days' ride we had seen a good
deal of smooth water for boating.  At half-past one was reached the
village of _Abadiyeh_.

Near the village we saw people cutting twigs of tamarisk and willow.  At
the village were large plantations of the kitchen vegetable, _Bamia_,
which is a _hibiscus_, (called _ochra_ in the West Indies,) the plants
four feet high, with bright yellow blossom.  Near the regular houses were
suburb huts made of reeds.  This is often seen along the Ghor; they are
tenanted by wanderers at certain seasons of the year.

There was a profusion of good wheat straw lying wasting upon the ground;
it is here too plentiful to be cared for.

We saw afterwards a low wall of masonry entirely crossing the Jordan, but
having now a broken aperture in the middle.  In former times these
artificial works were common, and served to irrigate the lands on each
side.  The river was never used for navigation.

At two o'clock we reached one well-known rendezvous, the old broken
bridge, popularly called "Mother of Arches."  The ford was now low in
water.  Here we rested under a neb'k tree; and on getting out the
luncheon, discovered that all our stores of bread, coffee, sugar, and
arrow-root had been soaked by the splashing of streams and fords that we
had this day encountered.

The horseman fell again to his prayers.  Several Arabs from the Hauran
with their camels, crossed the Jordan while we were there.

Another hour took us to the baths of Tiberias; the heat very great, and
by our roadside there was a whole mountain with its dry yellow grass and
weeds on fire.

Near the south end of the lake are some palms growing wild.  We
dismounted at a quarter to four.

                                * * * * *

Next day I ascended the hills to Safed, a well-known station.  The place
is exceedingly healthy, enjoying the purest mountain air, as is evinced
by the healthy complexion of the numerous Jews residing there; and the
landscape views are both extensive and beautiful.

On the following day I undertook a few hours' excursion to _Kadis_
(Kedesh Naphtali), where Barak, son of Abinoam, and Deborah, collected
the forces of Zebulun and Naphtali, for marching to Mount Tabor against
Sisera.  It was also one of the six cities of refuge for cases of
unintentional homicide, (Josh. xx. 7;) it lies to the N.N.E. from Safed.

In an hour we obtained a grand view of Hermon just opposite to us, and
never lost sight of it till our return.  Passed between the villages of
_Dilathah_ on the right, and _Taitaba_ on the left; the country is all
strewn with volcanic basalt.  In another half-hour we had _Ras el Ahhmar_
on our left.  Then _Farah_ and _Salhhah_ at some distance to the left,
and _Alma_ just before us.  The volcanic brown stones had on them
occasionally a thin lichen of either orange colour, or a sour pale green,
like verdigris.

About this village were women and children gathering olives from the
trees--first beating the boughs with poles, then picking up the fruit
from the ground.

The small district around here is named "the Khait," and the people boast
of its extraordinary fertility in corn-produce.

Down a steep descent of white limestone, where it is said the torrents
are so strong in winter that no one attempts to pass that way.  Rising
again, we found near the summit of the opposite hill a spring of water,
from which some Bedaween women were carrying away water in the common
fashion, in goat-skins upon their backs.  They were young, pretty, dirty,
and ragged.  Of course their rags were blue, and their lips were coloured
to match.

Pleasant breeze springing up after the heat of the day.  Corn stubble on
the fields, and fine olive plantations, as we got near to Kadis, our
place of destination; with such a wide clear road up to it, as might seem
to be traditionally preserved as such from ancient times, if the Talmud
be relied upon when it gives the legal width of various kinds of roads,
and prescribes twice as much for a highway towards the cities of refuge,
as for any other description of road. {109}

The scenery around Kadis is cheerful, but the village itself consisted of
only about half-a-dozen wretched houses.  In passing by these, towards an
orchard at the farther side, we saw some large ancient sarcophagi,--three
of them lying side by side, but broken, and some capitals of columns.

After selecting our site for the tents, and setting the cook to work in
his peculiar vocation, not forgetting to see that the horses were being
attended, we procured a guide to conduct us down the hill to the

There are still evidences remaining that the old city had been wealthy
and celebrated--squared stones lying profusely about.  At the spring of
water: this was received into an embellished sarcophagus for a trough,
and adjoining to it a spacious paved reservoir.

Here began a series of highly ornamental public edifices and sepulchral
monuments.  We went first to the farthest; and there it was greatly to be
regretted that there was not with us an artist able to do justice to the
exceeding beauty of the remains.

It was a large oblong building, placed east and west, an ornamental
moulding running round the whole at four feet from the ground; the roof
fallen in.  At the eastern extremity have been three portals, of which
the middle one was by far the largest; each of these decorated richly by
a bead and scroll moulding.  The lintel of the principal gate has fallen
from its place, and now stands perpendicular, leaning against one of the
uprights: this is one stone of fifteen feet in length, beautifully
sculptured.  Some broken pillars are lying about, and several magnificent
Corinthian capitals of square pilasters, which had been alongside of the
principal portal.  I have never seen anywhere in Palestine any relic of
so pure a Grecian taste as this temple. {110}

Nearer to the town is a Roman erection of large well-cut stones, which
have acquired from the effects of time the fine yellow tinge which is
remarkable on the relic of the Church of St John Baptist at Sebustieh.

This was a smaller building than the other, and is nearly entire, except
that the roof is fallen in.  It is in a square form: at each corner is a
solid square of masonry thirty feet high, and these are connected with
each other by semi-circular arches, two of which are fallen, and the
other two have their keystones dangling almost in the air, so slight is
the hold of their voussoirs to keep them from falling.  The walls rise
half way up these abutments; the doorway is to the south, and has the
ports and lintel richly decorated.  Of the use of this erection I could
form no judgment.

Between the two edifices was a mass of solid masonry, supporting a
sarcophagus nearly ten feet long, with a double sarcophagus of the same
dimensions at each side of it: not only the middle single one, but each
double sarcophagus, was formed of one stone each.  Can we doubt of the
relation which the persons buried in the double ones bore to each other?
The sides of these stone coffins are highly adorned with floral garlands,
and the lids are lying broken across beside them.

Oh! vain expectation, to preserve the human frame from violation, by
elaborate and durable monuments!  There is but one safe repository for
the decaying part of man, and that is what the Almighty Maker at first
decreed--namely, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.  The
poorest slave, buried in a hole within the ground, is safer from man's
greed and violence than the mightiest conqueror; for the massive porphyry
sarcophagus of Alexander was rifled by Caligula, and after that by
others, in Egypt.  And the same fate has befallen the tombs of Cyrus and
Darius in Persia, for the sake of the riches entombed with them.

Some copper coins were brought to us, but of no particular value: they
were either corroded or broken, and of no remarkable antiquity.

As twilight faded away we returned to the tents, and had the evening
meal.  The wind rose considerably, so that we lighted a fire on the lee
side of my tent, and gazed round upon the strange and noble scene around.
There was Hermon just before us, seen indistinctly by starlight; and
there was sufficient novelty and non-security in the place to keep
attention awake.

The shaikh of the village came and assured us that in the Lebanon (not
far distant) the Druses were up; that the convent at Maaluleh had been
sacked, and twenty-two Emirs had been seized by the beastly Turks (as he
denominated them); that Abu Neked was up in arms, and even the villages
in the south, about Nazareth, were fighting.  Of course there was
considerable exaggeration in all this, but our muleteer began to pray
that he might be soon safe again in Jerusalem.

The shaikh informed us that in the happy time of the Egyptian rule, under
Ibrahim Pasha, his village was so populous that they cultivated fifty
feddans of land, whereas now they could only work six; that then property
was so safe that Arab marauders were always caught and punished, (he had
himself had Bedaween kept prisoners in his house,) whereas now, under the
Turks, they come into his house to steal.

While he was relating this, a man came running from the village to
announce that neighbouring Arabs were just before carrying off some of
their cows in the dark, but on being pursued, had made off without them.

After I got to bed, one of our people shot at a hyaena, and the villagers
shouted from the roofs of their houses to know if we were attacked.  In
the morning they told us that they had seen the hyaena, big enough to eat
a man, and that their attention had been attracted to it by the cry of an

_Saturday_, _November_ 2.--We returned towards Safed over the plain of
_Alma_.  The wheat of this district is renowned far and wide for quality
and quantity of produce.  The guide told us that at this place were
splendid remains of antiquity; but, on arriving, we could hear of nothing
but a poor cistern within a cavern.  Here the black basalt recommences
after the region of white limestone where we had been; and then again, at
the distance of a good-sized field, we were upon common brown
agricultural soil.  It is curious how sharply these division-lines of
soil are drawn in every direction about this place. {114}

Thence we diverged off from yesterday's road to visit _Jish_, passing
through Ras el Ahhmar.  Most magnificent views of Hermon and

Had to go down into a valley, through which, on a former journey, we had
passed on coming from _Bint Jebail_, and visited again the ancient
monument in a vineyard by the roadside.  It appears to have consisted of
one small building.  The lower parts of two upright posts of its doorway
remain, together with a fragment of the transverse lintel: several pieces
of columns are lying about, and pediments of these _in situ_.  Besides
these, there is the following fragment of sculpture

                  [Picture: Ancient sepulchre near Jish]

nearly level with the ground, and is probably the entrance of a
sepulchre, but we had no opportunity of clearing away the soil to
ascertain that.  The ornamentation seems to be that of laurel leaves.
Near adjoining is a fragment of a round pillar, partly buried; but on
seeing Hebrew writing upon it, I cleared it away partly.  Some of it was
but indistinct.  I could only read it thus--

                        [Picture: Hebrew writing]

--from which not much signification can be gathered.  Perhaps some cracks
in the stone have disfigured the characters; but how and when did a
Hebrew inscription come in such a place?  The site is very agreeable,
with streamlets of water tinkling among trees by the roadside.

Thence we mounted up to the village of _Jish_, the place of _John of
Giscala_, the antagonist of Josephus.  This seems to have been the
centre-point of the dreadful earthquake in 1837, from which Safed and
Tiberias suffered so much.  It occurred on the New Year's day, while the
people of the village were all in church; and just as the priest held the
sacramental cup in his hand, the whole village was in a moment destroyed,
not one soul being left alive but the priest himself, and, humanly
speaking, his preservation was owing to the arch above his head.  All the
villages around shared the same fate, and the greater part of the towns
above mentioned.  Much damage was sustained all over Palestine; and a
heart-rending description of the events has since been printed, though
little known in England, by a Christian Israelite, named Calman, who,
together with Thomson, the American missionary, hasted from Bayroot on
hearing of the calamity, and aided in saving many lives of persons buried
beneath the ruins of Safed and Tiberias, during several days after the

This sad event serves for an era to date from; and the Jews there, when
referring to past occurrences, are accustomed to say, it was so many
years before (or after) the [Hebrew text] (the earthquake.)

Among the ruins of Jish are no remains of antiquity, except a fragment of
the thick shaft of a column and a small sarcophagus, only large enough
for a child, in a field half a mile distant.  The Jews appropriate this
to Shemaiah Abtelin.

We passed between _Kadita_ and _Taitaba_, over land strewn with volcanic
stone, beginning near Jish and extending almost to those villages.  The
crater, of very remote times, noticed by Robinson, is about one-third of
the distance from Jish to Safed; not very imposing in appearance.

The journey from Kadis to Safed is one of five hours' common travelling.
We reached the olive ground encampment shortly before noon.  Being the
Jewish Sabbath, there was the _Eruv_ suspended at the exits of the
principal streets.  This is an invention of the Talmudists, used in
unwalled towns, being a line extended from one post to another,
indicating to Jews what is the limit which they are to consider as the
town-wall, and certain ordinances of the Sabbath are regulated thereby.

A strong wind from the south blew up a mist that almost concealed the
huge dark ravine of _Jarmuk_, but the night became once more hot and

3_d_.--"And rested the Sabbath-day, according to the
commandment,"--neither the principal prayer-day of the Mohammedans, which
is Friday, nor the Sabbath-day of the large population of Jews about me,
but that which the early Christians so beautifully named the Lord's-day,
while observing it as a Sabbath.  I attended divine service in the
English language at the house of Mr Daniel, the missionary to the Jews:
we were six in number.  The rest of the day was spent in quiet reading
and meditation, with visits at one time from the rabbis, and at another
from the missionary.

4_th_.--An excursion to _Meroon_ to visit the sepulchres of several
eminent canonized rabbis.  The Jews believe this place to be the
Shimron-Meron of Joshua xii. 20.  An odd party we formed: there were the
missionary and his lady, Polish rabbis with very broad beaver hats and
curled ringlets on each side of the face, a crowd of Jewish idlers
walking, the Moslem attendants, and a peasant of the village we were
going to.  Certainly the rabbinical riding was not of a very dashing
character: their reverences were all mounted on asses with mean
accoutrements, for the adjustment of which they often had to dismount.
Our place of destination lies at the foot of the great hill Jarmuk, and
the road to it is very rough, with broken rocks fallen from the summit;
but the place commands a grand prospect of Safed and the Lake of Galilee.

The first object of interest was of course the sepulchre of Rabbi Simeon
bar Jochai, the patron saint of this region, and of regions beyond.  He
lived a miraculous life in the second Christian century; wrote the famous
book (Zohar), by which, if I mistake not, the Cabbalists still work
miracles; and miracles are performed in answer to prayers at his tomb--so
it is believed; and his commemoration festival, in the month Iyar (see
_ante_) is attended by Jewish votaries from all parts of the world, many
of whom practise the heathen rite of burning precious objects, such as
gold lace, Cashmere shawls, etc., upon the tomb, to propitiate his
favour.  On these occasions scenes of scandalous licence and riot are
witnessed, and sometimes lives are lost in conflicts with Moslems begun
in drunkenness.  The rabbis, however, procure great gains from the annual
festival or fair.

(In the town of Safed there is at least one (perhaps more) _Beth
ha-Midrash_, a sort of synagogue, with perpetual endowment, for reading
of the Zohar day and night for ever.)

First we entered a court-yard with a walnut-tree in the midst.  At a
farther corner of this court is a small clean apartment, with a lighted
lamp in a frame suspended from the ceiling, which is capable of holding
more lamps.  In a corner of this apartment is a recess with a lamp
burning before it; in this a roll of the law is kept; it is the shrine
itself of the author of Zohar.  One of our rabbis retired behind us for
prayer.  In another part of this chamber is buried Eleazar, son of the
illustrious Simeon.

These sepulchres are marked out upon the roof, outside of the chamber, by
a small pillar over each, with a hollow on the top of it for burning of
the votive offerings as above mentioned.  Near the first entrance gate is
a similar pillar for lamps and offerings vowed to Rabbi Isaac, a
celebrated physician.

All these three saints still perform as many miracles as ever they did;
and the common people believe that any person forcing an entrance to the
shrines, without express permission of the living rabbis, will be
infallibly punished with sudden death.  They cited instances of such
visitations having occurred.

We then went to the ruin of what the Jews assert to have been a
synagogue.  It has been an oblong square building, one of its sides being
formed by the scarped surface of a rock, and its opposite (the north)
stands upon what is now the brink of a low precipice, probably from the
earth having given way below at the time of the earthquake; indeed it
must be so, for the one of the three portals at the east end, which was
there, is now missing.  The floor is solid surface of rock, and now used
by the peasants for a thrashing-floor.  The portals have been handsome,
with bold mouldings; but no floral embellishment or inscription now

                      [Picture: Possible synagogue]

The transverse lintels are each of one stone; the central one is at least
fifteen feet in length.

Persons still living remember this building very much more entire than it
now is.  There is an abundance of large loose stones lying about, and
fragments of broken columns or moulded friezes.  Upon the rock by its
side is a small tower that was erected by old Daher (Volney's hero of the
Report on Syria) in the eighteenth century.

The village population now consists of about thirty souls, friendly to
the Jews, from whom indeed they derive their principal subsistence, in
consideration of guarding the sanctuaries from spoliation.  Other
sanctified rabbis are interred in sites about the village and the hill.

After a temperate luncheon upon the rocks among the noble scenery in the
open air, and consulting the Hebrew book of travels of R. Joseph
Schwartz, (who was still living in Jerusalem,) we parted from our rabbis,
and proceeded to visit Cuf'r Bera'am.

When we arrived close to _Sasa_, there was _Jish_ before us on the right.
We passed through a district of stones and underwood of evergreen oak;
clouds and rain coming on, which overtook us sharply as we reached the

Some of the party being but poor riders, we were later than I had
expected to be; it was quite sunset; and the people of the place, (almost
all of them Maronite Christians,) headed by their priest could do no less
than press us to stay through the night with them, especially as the sky
threatened a continuation of rain.  After deliberative counsel being
taken among us, it was resolved that we could only thank the good people
for their intended hospitality, and return home.  We first halted before
an ancient square building, the outside of which has been much encroached
upon by the alluvial earth of ages, and the simple but correct Tuscan
portico, encumbered with piles of fagots for the village use during the
approaching winter.  The three doorways of the facade were embellished by
sculptured wreaths of vine leaves and grapes.  Hearing that some Hebrew
inscription was to be found beneath one of the windows, we had some of
the fagots removed, sufficient to enable us to read the words [Hebrew
text] (this house, etc.); but on account of the labour required to do
more with such a tangled and heavy mass of wood, besides the rain and the
lateness of the hour, we were obliged to abandon the task, and go forward
to the large decorated portal which is standing alone, without its
edifice, in an enclosed field at about a quarter of a mile distant.  This
is erected upon a raised platform of masonry.  Upon the transverse lintel
we read the following Hebrew inscription, neatly engraved:--

                      [Picture: Hebrew inscription]

(Peace be within this place, and all places of the sojourners . . . to
the work . . . blessing in his works.)

This is all written in one line, without breaks or stops, very small, and
in as neat a square character as if lately copied from a printed book.
The two uprights and the lintel have a simple and chaste ornament like a
bead moulding.  The transverse lintel has in the middle of its length a
rosette surmounted by a circular wreath, at each end of which may be seen
upon close inspection, and in a slanting light, traces of a small animal,
most likely a sheep, recumbent, which have been chiselled away.  On a
visit some years after, and on closer inspection, I remarked the same
figures upon the facade of that building above mentioned, with Tuscan
pillars for a portico, though pains have been taken, as in this instance,
to obliterate them.

The ground all about there is strewn with moulded stones and broken

We reached Safed, cold and wet, in the dark, having ridden but slowly, in
order to accommodate certain individuals of the party; but it was in the
month of November, at an altitude of above 2000 feet, with rain and gusts
of wind coming between dark mountains.

My evening reflections alone naturally ran upon the almost unknown
circumstance of Hebrew inscriptions existing upon remains of ancient and
decorated edifices in this part of the country, while nothing of the sort
is known elsewhere.  Were the two buildings at Cuf'r Bera'am, and the
sepulchre in the field below Jish, really Jewish? and if so, when were
they erected?

The modern Jews, in their utter ignorance of chronology, declare these to
be synagogues of the time of the second temple in Jerusalem; and affirm
that, notwithstanding the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, this
province of Upper Galilee remained without its people being led into
captivity, and that many families (for instance, the Jewish
agriculturists still at Bokeea', between Safed and Acre) continue now,
just as they were then, in the same localities.

My good old friend Nicolayson, the late missionary to the Jews, was
willing to believe a good deal about this local stability of Jews in
Upper Galilee, and to give credit for a state of much prosperity among
the Jews in the East during the reigns of the Antonine emperors; and his
idea was the most probable one of any that I have heard advanced--namely,
that these edifices (corresponding in general character with those
remaining at Kadis) are really synagogues from the era of the Antonines,
and that the inscriptions are of the same date; meanwhile keeping in mind
that they are utterly wanting in the robust style of archaic Hebraism,
and that the embellishments indicate somewhat of a low period.

For myself, after two visits to the place, and many years of
consideration, I cannot bring myself to this belief; but rather conclude
that they were heathen temples of the Antonine epoch, and afterwards used
as synagogues by the Jews, long ago--probably during some interval of
tranquillity under the early Mohammedans,--and that the Hebrew
inscriptions were then put upon them.

There is some regularity and method in the writing upon the lonely portal
in the field, though even this is not so well executed as the contiguous
moulding upon the same stone; but the other two inscriptions (those upon
the facade of the building in the village, and that upon the broken
column in the field below Jish) are put irregularly upon any vacant space
that happened to be unencumbered.  I am convinced that, in the latter
instance, the sculpture and the writing have nothing to do with each

The surest demonstration, however, to my mind, lies in the evident fact
of animal figures having been originally upon the same lintel where the
writing now is.  Although their relief-projection has been chiselled
down, the outlines of the figures are unmistakable.  These, I feel
certain, were coeval with the buildings, while the inscriptions are only
coeval with their being defaced.

Next day we travelled southwards towards Jerusalem.  On leaving the town
we passed the ruins of an old church, which they call "The Church of the
Forty Martyrs," (this seems to be a favourite traditional designation, as
there are other such about the country) and in half an hour reached a
stream in the midst of a wood of neb'k trees, where an Arab, riding a
fine mare and carrying a long spear decorated with black ostrich
feathers, was driving a cow across the water--very probably plundered
from some neighbouring village.

At _Yakook_--the dirtiest place in the world, I suppose, there was a
large Arab encampment, the men sitting apart from the women, and cooking
going on--thence to _Hhatteen_.  The volcanic stones of this region are
far blacker than elsewhere; the district resembles some dismal coal
district in the north of England.  Thence out of the common road to
_Nimrin_, by _Lubieh_, _Tura'an_, to _Cuf'r Cana_, the old and true Cana
of Galilee.

At this village of peculiarly scriptural interest, the women and children
were spreading cotton pods, just picked, on their house-roofs to dry.
Here is a square-built cistern filled from a spring within it, and the
cattle were drinking from a beautiful sarcophagus.  Losing our road again
we came to _Meshhad_, rather west of the usual road.  Clouds lowering and
frowning over Carmel.  At the village of _Raineh_ I noticed a man
harrowing a ploughed field by dragging a bunch of prickly-pear leaves
after a yoke of oxen.  Arrived at Nazareth.

Next day, across the plain of Esdraelon to _Jeneen_ and _Sanoor_, where
we slept.  Then by a new road, untraversed by Europeans.  After _Jeba'_,
we got into the plain of Sharon, through the large olive plantations of
_Fendecomia_, (_pente_, five, and _comai_, villages--in Greek,) between
_Yaero_, (a ruin,) _Adjah_, _Rameeen_, and _Attarah_, with other villages
in good condition.  Saw Cuf'r Ra'i very distinctly at a distance in the
West, and numerous villages besides.

From an eminence we looked down upon an extensive prospect of shaded
unoccupied hills, with the wide plain beyond and the Mediterranean Sea;
then descended into a valley, the road winding about through immense
olive groves; the travelling was easy, and all the district bore the
appearance of prosperity, such as could hardly be expected where we know
that factious warfare so frequently exists.  Passed _Cuf'r Ruman_.  As
far as _'Annabeh_ the course had been for a long time westwards; but
there, at the opening of the great plain, we turned due southwards.  This
was four hours from _Sanoor_, at a good pace.  Passed between _'Annabeh_
and _Tool el Ker'm_ in changing our course.  Near _Irtahh_ we passed a
camel-party going down to Egypt with bales of soap and tobacco for sale.
We were upon the established route of trade between Damascus and Egypt,
and not very far distant from Dothan, where the Midianite or Ishmaelite
caravan bought Joseph from his brethren; but we had passed this on our
left hand in the morning.

Soon passed _Farra'an_ on our left, with a weli and a cistern below it,
by the roadside.  _Kalinsawa_ in sight, but far away to the right;
_Ferdisia_ and _Zenabeh_ on the left.  The day very hot, and the
peasantry observed to be, as usual in all the Philistine country, cleaner
in their garments than those of the mountains.

Coasted along, parallel to the line of hills, as far as _Kalkeeleh_,
where we began to turn inwards, across the fields, towards the place of
our destination, namely, _Mejdal Yaba_, which was conspicuous on an
eminence before us.  This was at six and a half hours from _Sanoor_.

In a field we arrived at a well, where the water must have been very low
down, being late in the year; for it was only obtained by jars or skins
drawn up at the end of a very long rope, worked by a long line of women
walking across the field, and singing at their work, while the men sat
looking on and smoking.

We passed the remains of some old considerable town, where, among the
fallen building stones and the lines of foundations, there was a cistern,
and an ancient sarcophagus by its side; also a deep square well filled up
with rubbish, and remains of quarrying work in the solid rock,--besides
an unroofed building, with a semicircular arch to the doorway.  Surely
this must have been of Roman construction.

Arrived at _Mejdal Yaba_ in nine hours from Sanoor,--a hot and tiring
journey.  At a short distance below us was the site of _Ras el 'Ain_; and
farther westwards, but within sight, the tall white tower of _Ramlah_.

I had a special object in coming off the common high-roads to this place,
but little known, at that time not at all known, to Europeans,--namely,
to visit Shaikh Sadek, the responsible ruler of the district, and
regarded by the peasantry with especial deference, out of traditional
obedience to his ancient family.

We found the village and the castle in a very dilapidated condition, and
the great shaikh not at home.  Some of his relatives, however, received
us; but both they and the peasantry were surprised, if not alarmed, at
our coming.  To them it seemed as if we were suddenly dropped upon them
from the sky.  Perhaps they had never seen Europeans before; or they
might have thought us spies sent by the Turkish Government.  There were
plenty of idle fellows lounging about; but their supplies of food from
the village were scanty, and of inferior quality.

The Sadek family apologised for apparent want of hospitality,--explaining
that the only unbroken part of the castle was but just sufficient to
contain the _hareem_ of the women, and there was not a single room to
give me.  So I was glad to have my bedding and other paraphernalia spread
upon a _mustabah_, or raised stone divan, just within the gate.  A narrow
vaulting covered my head; but it was open at the side to the square
court, into which the horses, asses, cows, and sheep were driven for the

After considerable delay, a rude supper was produced,--of which, however,
I could not persuade the family to partake till after ourselves.  They
then ate up the remainder in company with my servants.  They were very
solemn and slow in conversation; indeed, I could not but suspect that
they had some hostile schemes in preparation, which they did not wish to
have ascertained or communicated to their neighbours.

Troubling myself very little about their local politics, I was soon on my
bed, and looking up at the brilliant stars.  Sleep did not come very
soon, as the men kept up firing guns, and the women trilling their songs,
to a late hour.  They said it was on account of a wedding.

Daybreak found me up, and in full enjoyment of the exquisite luxury of
open air, in a clear and pure Oriental climate, before sunrise.

                [Picture: Remains of old Christian church]

The servants were all busied in various occupations, and the peasantry
driving out the cattle, while I was surveying the considerable remains of
an old Christian church, which now forms one side of the shaikh's
mansion, and is used for a stable and a store of fodder.  This vignette
represents its entrance, in a corner now darkened by the arcade in which
I had slept.  The workmanship is massive and very rude, and the Greek of
the inscription upon the lintel not less barbarous, signifying "Martyr
Memorial Church of the Holy Herald,"--_i.e._, John the Baptist.

This discovery interested me deeply, in that region so remote from any
body of Christians at the present day, and among a population very like
savages dwelling amid stern hill-scenery.

Not less touching was the special designation of the saint so
commemorated.  I believe that the Easterns pay more respect than
Europeans do to the memory of him whom the Saviour himself pronounced to
be greater than all the Old Testament prophets.  And while we are
accustomed to ascribe to him only one of his official characters,--that
of the Baptizer,--they take pleasure in recalling his other scriptural
offices; as, for instance, this of the _Herald_, or Preacher {131a} of
righteousness, and that of the _Forerunner_. {131b}  Indeed, individuals
are not unfrequently named after him in baptism by this latter
appellation, without the name John.

This building appears to have been at all times heavy and coarse in
construction; indeed, one may fairly suppose that part of the frontal has
at some time been taken down, and strangely put together again.

This church is the only object of curiosity that I had found along the
recent novel route.

On leaving _Mejdal_, I descended to inspect once more the site so
interesting to me of _Ras el 'Ain_, at half an hour's distance,--which I
unhesitatingly believe to be _Antipatris_, as I conceived it to be on my
first seeing the place the preceding year.  I had then passed it rather
late in the evening, and upon the other side.

_Cuf'r Saba_, to which I was then going, is a wretched village, of
unburnt bricks, on the wide open plain, with no other water near it than
the deposit of rain-water in an adjoining square tank of clay.  Yet
travelling authors have constantly pronounced this to be the locality of
Antipatris.  Not one of them, however, has visited the place.

What does Josephus say (Antiq. xvi. 5, 2, in Whiston)?--"After this
solemnity and these festivals were over, Herod erected another city in
the plain called Caphar Saba, where he chose out a fit place, both for
plenty of water and goodness of soil, and proper for the production of
what was there planted; where a river encompassed the city itself, and a
grove of the best trees for magnitude was round about.  This he named
Antipatris, from his father Antipater."  [Greek text].  No words can be
more distinctly descriptive; yet Robinson, who had not visited that
district, in his positive manner lays down that the village of Cuf'r Saba
is the site of Antipatris; and "doubtless" all that is said about "well
watered," and "a river encompassing the city," means that some wadi or
watercourse came down from the hills in that direction, and made the
place watery in the winter season.

Now, what are the facts remaining at the present day?  Upon the same
plain with Cuf'r Saba, and within sight of it, at hardly six miles'
distance, is a large mound capable of containing a small town, with
foundations of ancient buildings, bits of marble, Roman bricks, and
tesserae scattered about,--but especially a large strong castle of
Saracenic work, the lower courses of the walls of real Roman
construction; and at the foot of the mound rises the river _Aujeh_ out of
the earth in several copious streams, crowded with willows, tall wild
canes, and bulrushes,--the resort of numerous flocks, and of large herds
of horned cattle brought from a distance, and (as I have seen there)
counted by the Government inspector of the district, for the levying of
agricultural taxes upon them. {133}  This is our Ras el 'Ain.

For a considerable extent there is capital riding-ground of green grass,
so rare in Palestine.  Let any one familiar with that country answer,
Could Herod have selected a better spot for a military station, (as
Antipatris was,) just on the border, descending from the hill-country
upon the plain?  With this description in view, we understand all the
more vividly the narrative of Felix sending St Paul to Caesarea.  To
elude the machinations of the conspiracy, the military party travelled by
night over the hilly region; and on reaching the castle of Antipatris,
the spearmen and other soldiers left him to continue the journey with
cavalry upon the plain to Caesarea, about three hours farther, (Acts
xxiii. 23, and 31, 32.)

It seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that this is the true site of
Antipatris; and as for Josephus calling that neighbourhood "the plain of
Cuf'r Saba," that must be for the same reason as another part of the same
vast extent was called the Plain of Sharon,--or as it is now very much
the custom for modern travellers to call the whole Philistine plain by
that name.

As for the statement that a river encompassed the city itself; I imagine
that the town was not upon the elevated mound,--this was probably
occupied by military works and a temple,--but upon the level of the
water, among the serpentine separate streams, which soon combine into one
river, the Aujeh, with its water-mills, and which was navigable for some
distance inland to the north of Jaffa.  In the course of ages some of
these streams may have somewhat changed their direction.  The mound has
still a dry trench around it, which must have anciently had its current
of water through it.

It cannot be that the deep trench dug by Alexander from Antipatris to the
sea (Antiq. xiii. 15, I, Whiston) can have begun at this village of Cuf'r
Saba, where no water rises, and which is far away from the hills in an
open plain.  Although the words are distinctly, "from Capharzaba," the
trench must have originated at the river head, _i.e._, Antipatris, where
there was a fortified castle, and passed round the nearest town, viz.,
that of Cuf'r Saba.

I should observe, that not only Herod did well in selecting this spot for
a castle, because of its situation on the verge of the mountains,
commanding the road from Jerusalem to either Caesarea or Joppa; but
because it lies also upon the direct caravan track between Damascus and
Egypt, nearly at right angles with the other road.

The ruined Saracenic khan which now stands on the foundations of the
Roman castle, is of large size, and has a broken mosque in the centre of
the enclosure.

We rested and breakfasted, from our own resources, (without taxing the
Arab hospitality of Shaikh Sadek's family at Mejdal,) at the springs of
the Aujeh,--the water bubbling up warm from the ground, among stones,
with aquatic birds flying over us, and the morning breeze sighing among
the gigantic reeds and the willows.

We engaged a guide for what seemed likely to be a short day's journey to
_Ras Kerker_, the _cursi_, or metropolis, of another dominant
family--that of _Ibn Simhhan_--within the mountains; but it proved far
longer than was expected.

We were conducted due south, yet so far away from the line of hills that
we missed the Roman temple of _M'zeera'a_, which I do not know that, to
this day, any European but myself has seen. {136}

To _Nebi Sari_, which is a pretty weli, two hour only from Jaffa.  To
_Runtieh_, which is a poor place.  Then south-eastwards to _Teereh_; near
which we started a gazelle across the fields.

In that part of the country the population has so greatly increased of
late years that there was a scarcity of land for cultivation; and at the
end of autumn the villages contest the right of ploughing there by fights
of fire-arms.

Suddenly we turned into a valley, at an acute angle with our previous
road.  This is named _Wadi el Kharnoob_--probably from some conspicuous
karoobah-tree.  In ascending the hill, I looked back, and had a beautiful
prospect of Jaffa, and a white ship sailing on the sea.

We continued ascending higher and higher.  Before us was a large building
on a single hill, which they called _Dair Musha'al_.  Passed the ruined
village, _Hhanoonah_.  On our right hand, among trees, was _Desrah_.
Passed through _Shukbeh_.  How different is the mountain air from that of
the plain, so light and so pure!

Descended a little to _Shibtain_, where there was a great ancient well;
and being surrounded by hills, the place was very hot.  Then for some
time over very dangerous paths, mounting upwards, till we reached the
region of a cool breeze, such as I once heard a peasant say was "worth a
thousand purses" on a summer's day.

Saw _Ras Kerker_, the place of our destination, high above, in a very
remarkable situation; but how to get at it was a puzzle which patient
perseverance alone could solve.

We rode round and round one hill after another, till we reached _Dair
'Ammar_.  Then opened upon us one of those few prospects which in a
lifetime impress themselves indelibly on the mind.  This was not lovely,
but stern, consisting chiefly of a wild, dark alternation of lower hills,
with the valleys between them.

The villages hereabouts bear an appearance of prosperity--perhaps because
Turkish officials are never seen there; but the people of _Dair 'Ammar_
behaved rudely.  Down, deep deep down we went, leading our horses, in
order to rise afterwards to a higher elevation.  At length we reached a
petty spring of water, where there were some dirty, but otherwise
good-looking women, who pointed out our path towards the castle at the
top of the hill.

The _Ibn Simhhan_ people (being the great rivals of _Abu Gosh_) had often
invited me to visit them at this castle,--describing with ardour the
abundance and excellence of its springs of water, and the salubrity of
its atmosphere.

On arriving at the "_Ras_," after a tedious and very wearisome
journey,--difficult as the place is of access,--I found it to fall far
below those promises.  There are no springs near it.  The only water is
brought up by the women from the one which we had passed far below.  Only
within the castle (which was begun while building forty-four years
before) some old wells, with good masonry stones, were discovered.  These
are now put into good order, and kept full, probably in readiness at any
time against a siege by the faction of Abu Gosh.  Many battles and sieges
take place in these remote places that the Pasha of Jerusalem never hears

Although of modern origin, much of the earliest part of the castle is
already falling to decay--such as gates, steps, etc.  It was a melancholy
spectacle to walk about the place, reminding one of some small
middle-aged castles that I have seen in Scotland, burnt or destroyed
during old times of civil warfare; or resembling my recollection, after
many long years, of Scott's description of the Baron Bradwardine's castle
in its later period.  And the same melancholy associations recurred
yesterday at Mejdal Yaba.

The people assured us that the tortuous and rocky road that we had taken
from Ras el 'Ain was the best and nearest that we could have taken.

We were received by a couple of relatives of Ibn Simhhan, who is now
Governor of Lydd; but they conducted us to the next village, _Janiah_, to
be entertained there by the rest of the family.  On our descent to the
village, we met our hosts coming to meet us.

_Janiah_ is a poor place; and we had glimpses of curious groups and
scenes within the best one of the wretched houses.  We were received in a
large room, to which the access was by a steep and broken set of steps
outside of the house.  In the street below was a circle of the elders of
the village; and at the time of sunset, one of them mounted on the corner
of a garden wall to proclaim the _Adan_, or Moslem call to prayers.  I
did not observe that he was at all attended to.

A good number of the leading people came to visit us; and one old man
quoted and recited heaps of Arabic poetry for our entertainment while
awaiting the supper.

Then 'Abdu'l Lateef Ibn Simhhan, joined by another, (a humbler adherent
of the family,) gave us a vivid relation of the famous battle of _Nezib_
in 1838, and of his desertion from the Egyptian army to the Turkish with
a hundred of his mountaineers, well armed, during the night; of how the
Turkish Pasha refused to receive him or notice him till he had washed
himself in a golden basin, and anointed his beard from vessels of gold;
how the Turkish army was disgracefully routed; how he ('Abdu'l Lateef)
was appointed to guard the Pasha's harem during the flight, etc., etc.
This narrative was occasionally attested as true by a negro slave in the
room, who had been with my host on that expedition.

The most lively fellow, however, of the party was one Hadj 'Abdallah of
Jerusalem, who has two wives, one a daughter of Ibn Simhhan, the other a
daughter of Abu Gosh!!  His property in Jerusalem consists chiefly of
houses let out to Jews, whom he mimicked in their Spanish and German

At length came supper; then sleep.

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, 9_th_.--Asaad Ibn Simhhan and Hadj 'Abdallah rode with us to
_Mezra'ah_ to show us some ruins of an ancient city near it, called
_Hharrasheh_, where, as they told us, there are "figures of the children
of men" cut in the rock.  This roused our curiosity immensely, and I felt
sure of success in such company; for though we were in a very wild and
unknown country, we had the second greatest of the Ibn Simhhan family
with us, and the Hadji was evidently popular among them all.

We sent on our luggage before us to Jerusalem by _Bait Unah_ and _Bait

In rather less than an hour we reached _Mezra'ah_--the journey much
enlivened by the drollery and songs of Hadj 'Abdallah.  Both he and Asaad
had capital mares and ornamented long guns.  The latter was all dressed
in white--the turban, abbai, etc.  His face was pale, and even his mare

Arrived at the village, we all mounted to the roof of a house--the people
paying great reverence to Asaad.  Gradually we found the whole population
surrounding us, and then closing nearer and nearer upon us.  As the heat
of the sun increased, we descended to an arcade of the same house, at the
end of which there were some itinerant Christians mending shoes for the

A breakfast was brought to us of eggs swimming in hot butter and honey,
with the usual Arab cakes of bread.  The crowd could not be kept off; and
the people themselves told us it was because they had never before seen

One man asked for some gunpowder from my horn.  I gave some to Asaad, and
one of the villagers took a pinch of it from him; then went to a little
distance, and another brought a piece of lighted charcoal to make it
explode on his hand.  He came to me afterwards, to show with triumph what
good powder it must be, for it had left no mark on his skin.

Ibn Simhhan had to make the people move away their lighted pipes while I
was giving him some of the precious powder.  He then informed the
assembly that I had come to see _Hharrasheh_ and the sculptured figures.
They refused to allow it.  He insisted that I should go; and after some
violent altercation and swearing the majority of the men ran to arm
themselves and accompany us, so as to prevent us from carrying off the
hidden treasures.

We rode away; and at every few hundred yards places were pointed out to
us as sites of clan massacres, or wonderful legends, or surprising
escapes, in deep glens or on high hills.  At one time we passed between
two cairns of stones, one covering a certain 'Ali, the other a certain
Mohammed, both slain by ---.  "By whom?" said I.  The Hadji gave no other
reply than pointing over his shoulder to Asaad.  I felt as if transported
a couple of centuries back to the wilds of Perthshire or Argyleshire,
among the Highland clans.  The local scenery was of a suitable character.

In about forty minutes we arrived at some lines of big stones, that must
have belonged to some town of enormous or incalculable antiquity; and
this, they told us, was _Hharrasheh_.  As for columns, the people told us
to stoop into a cavern; but there we could perceive nothing but a piece
of the rock remaining as a prop in the middle.  "Well, now for the
figures of the children of men."  The people looked furious, and
screamed.  They gathered round us with their guns; but Asaad insisted; so
a detachment of them led us down the side of a bare rocky hill, upon a
mere goat-path; and at last they halted before a rough, uncut stone,
whose only distinction from the many thousands lying about, was that it
stands upright.

Asaad observed our disappointment, and said something--I forget the exact
terms now--which led me to believe that this was not the object he had
meant, and that the ignorant, superstitious people could not be coerced.
He believed that this stone had been anciently set up with some
meaning--probably by some one who had buried treasures; not as indicating
the exact spot, but as leading in a line connected with some other
object, to the real place of concealment.

So here the matter ended; and, when the people saw us looking
disappointed, they went away satisfied to their village.

We parted from our friend Asaad Ibn Simhhan, taking one of the peasantry
with us to show us the way to Ram Allah, which he did through vineyards
and cheerful scenery; and we were soon again at that village after
seventeen days' absence.  In about two hours more we were in Jerusalem.


This extensive level is the original Palestine--the Pelesheth of Exod.
xv. 14, and Isa. xiv. 29.  So named because it was the country of the
Pelishtim or Philistines (of Genesis x. 14, and _passim_) in the Old
Testament history, extending from about Caesarea to Gaza, or farther
southwards, and from the Mediterranean to the hill country of Judea, west
to east.

This district is so exclusively understood in modern times by the name
Palestine or Philistia, that a deputation of Oriental Christians coming
once on a friendly visit, inquired why upon my Arabic seal the English
consulate was designated that of "Jerusalem and Palestine," without
mention of the other territories northwards to which its jurisdiction
extended, such as Galilee.  I could only answer that the ancient Romans
called the whole country around, nay, even that beyond Jordan, and as far
as Petra, by the name of Palestine, and this fact was old enough for us
now-a-days to act upon.  "Oh, the Romans!" they ejaculated, with a
curious expression of countenance, as if disappointed at the mention of
such comparatively modern people.  So true is it that in the Holy Land,
the Bible is the only book of history for Christians, and scriptural
incidents are the traditions which leap over any number of centuries at a
time.  How little of this state of mind existing among the inhabitants of
that country is comprehended in England!

But, in reference to the people Israel and the possession of it as the
promised land, this allotment, shared partly by each of the tribes of
Ephraim, Dan, and Judah, has a peculiar denomination--it is called the
Shephelah, (translated by the common word _vale_ in Josh. x. 40, xi. 16,
and elsewhere.)  In Arabic authors also of Mohammedan period, this large
plain bears the same name, _Siphla_, meaning the same as in Hebrew, the
"low country."

Thus, as one expanse from the hills to the sea, it bears one territorial
name, either Philistine or Hebraic, just as another region is called the
_Negeb_, or south, (see in the verses referred to above,) or as others
were designated the hill country, or the desert, or Phoenicia.  And many
a time have I stood on the summits of hills to the west of Bethlehem, the
eye ranging over its extent from the vicinity of Carmel to Gaza, with
Jaffa and Ekron in front, and have sometimes seen beyond this, ships of
large size sailing past on the "great and wide sea" of the 104th Psalm.

The ancient Philistines were not only exceptionally, but generally, a
large race of people, and the population there are to this day remarkably
tall; they are, even amid disadvantages, (that especially of want of
water,) much more cleanly in their persons and clothing than the peasants
of the hills, and many of their habits of life are modified by their
circumstances, such as the pressure of their wild Arab neighbours from
the southern desert that lies between them and Egypt.

Over this plain I have made several journeys at different periods, and
now proceed to put down my jottings of an excursion in the spring of

                                * * * * *

_May_ 1_st_.--"Sweet May-day" in the Holy Land as well as in England.

At Rachel's sepulchre, "in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem," we
parted from a company of friends who had ridden with us from Jerusalem,
and passed along the valley _Duhheish'mah_ to the Pools of Solomon, then
turned aside by the convent and village of _El Khud'r_ (or St George),
surrounded by flourishing vineyards.  Then mounting up a stony ridge, we
came in view of the wide Philistine plain, the hills falling in
successive gradations from our feet to the level of the plain, but
separate objects could scarcely be distinguished on account of the thick
air of the prevailing Shirocco; green bushes, however, and abundant wild
flowers, including the red everlasting, pheasant's eye, cistus, and some
late anemones, were about us; the larks and the linnets were singing with

In front was the village of _Hhusan_, and two roads led forward, that on
the left to _Nahhaleen_, _Wad Fokeen_, and _Jeba'_; this was the road
that I ought to have taken to _Bait Nateef_, our place for the night, but
being considerably ahead of our baggage mules, I had ridden on with a
kawwas, under _Hhusan_ and _Ras abu 'Ammar_; by our wayside lay a defaced
Roman milestone.

A solitary peasant youth, from whom I inquired the names of the villages
about us, was so alarmed at the appearance of a European with a Turkish
attendant, in a place so remote from common high-roads, that he ran off;
but finding our horses keeping up with his fleet pace, he dropped behind
a large stone and levelled his gun at us in sheer terror; it was
difficult to get a rational reply from him.

Before us, a little to our left, was _Hhubeen_, half down a hill, at the
foot of which was a valley green with waving crops of wheat and barley.

In ten minutes more there opened a fine view of _Bait 'Atab_, in which
were some good new buildings.  Before arriving at this village, which is
the chief one of the _'Arkoob_ district, ruled by _'Othman el Lehham_, I
dismounted for rest beneath a gigantic oak, where there were last year's
acorns and their cups shed around, and half a dozen saplings rising from
the ground, sheltered from the sun by being all within the shadow of the
parent tree; with arbutus bushes in every direction, wild thyme and other
fragrant herbs serving as pasture for numerous humming bees, bright
coloured bee-eaters were twittering in their swallow-like flight, and
under the soothing influence of the whole, I fell into a pleasant

Some boughs of "the huge oak" were decorated with bits of dirty rags
hanging upon the boughs as votive memorials of answers to prayers.
Probably the site was that of a burial-place of some personage of ancient
and local celebrity; but my attendant was positive in affirming that the
people do not pray at such stations more than at any other spot whatever.
There are many such venerated trees in different parts of the country.  I
believe that the reason as well as the amount of such veneration is vague
and unsettled in the minds of the peasantry, yet the object remains a
local monument from generation to generation, honoured now, as were in
the Bible times--the oak of Deborah (Gen. xxxv. 8), the oak of Ophrah
(Judges vi. II), for instance, with others.

       "Multosque per annos
    Multa virum volvens durando saecula vincit."

By and by the groom overtook us on foot, having scoured about the
neighbourhood in search of us.  After another half an hour's rest, we
followed him across very rocky and slippery hills towards the place of
our destination--dwarf shrubs of evergreen oak, honeysuckle, a spring of
water, and an old well near the village of Hhubeen, with doves cooing,
and a vulture poised in the sky above.  Then a ruined village called
_Lesed_, {149} (as well as I could catch the sound from a distance,) near
which, among the shrubs, the gnats troubled our horses exceedingly as
evening drew on, which would imply the neighbourhood of water.

Arrived at _Bait Nateef_ just at sunset, but no luggage had as yet
arrived.  This is _Netophah_ in the lists of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The chief and elders of the village were, according to custom of the
eventide, seated in a group, chattering or consulting, or calculating,
probably, about taxes, or respective shares of the common harvest, or the
alliances to be contracted for the next border-warfare, or marriages
being planned, or the dividing of inheritances, etc.  My groom was
admitted into their circle, most likely welcomed as bringing the latest
news from Jerusalem, or as being able to describe this strange arrival,
and the road to be taken by us on the morrow.

I passed forward to select a spot for pitching the tents when they and
the food should arrive.  The village shaikh of course tendered all the
hospitality in his power to offer, but this was unnecessary beyond a
supply of water, milk, and eggs.

We waited, and waited: the sun was down; the stars came out, and the moon
shone over us; but at length the mule bells became audible, and our
dwellings and supplies came up.  Supper and sleep are needless to

_Wednesday_ 2_d_.--The green hills around were enlivened by the clucking
of partridges among the bushes, and the olive-trees by the cooing of

Leaving this position with its extensive prospect, and passing an
enormous evergreen oak we crossed a noble valley, and soon reached the
hill on which stands _Sh'weikeh_, (or _Shocoh_ in Hebrew.)  This large
valley runs east to west, and is the _Elah_ of Scripture, the scene of
David's contest with Goliath--a wide and beautiful plain, confined within
two ranges of hills, and having a brook (dry at this season) winding at
half distance between them.  The modern names for the vale of 'Elah are
_Musurr_, from the N.E. to near Sh'weikeh, and _Sunt_ after that.

The plain was waving with heavy crops of wheat and barley, and the bed of
the stream, bordered by old trees of acacia, called Sunt, (in that
district called Hharaz.)  These are of a brilliant green in summer, but
as there are no such trees elsewhere nearer than Egypt, or the Wadi
'Arabah, (for they require water,) the people relate a traditional
account of their origin, and say that once upon a time the country was
invaded by a king of Egypt, named Abu Zaid, bringing a prodigious army;
but on the occurrence of a sudden alarm, they decamped in such haste that
their tent-pegs were left in the ground, which, being made of Sunt wood,
struck roots at the next rainy season, and sprung up as we see them.  Can
this be a confused tradition of the rout of the Philistines to Shaaraim
on the fall of Goliath?

The vale or plain (for in Hebrew the word _Emek_ is often applied to the
latter also when lying between ranges of hills--sometimes even when they
are of considerable breadth, as at Rephaim and elsewhere) is about three
hours or twelve miles long, and spacious enough to allow of military
occupation and action; hostile armies might of course also occupy the
opposite hills.  From the direction of Hebron other valleys fall into
this wide plain.  On another occasion I entered it by that called _Wadi
'Arab_ or _Shaikh_, descending from _'Ain Dirweh_ and _Bezur_ or _Bait
Soor_.  Wadi 'Arab is commanded at its mouth by _Kharas_ on the north and
_Nuba_ on the south.  Near to the latter are the ruins of _'Elah_, which
I have no doubt gave name to the valley, and not any remarkable
terebinth-tree, as is generally guessed by commentators on the Bible,
unless, indeed, some remarkable terebinth-tree at first gave name to the
village.  Neither Robinson nor Porter appears to have seen or heard of
this site of 'Elah, neither do they mention the route by the Wadi 'Arab,
which lies to the north of Wadi Soor, which they do mention.

Southwards, but further inland, lies _Keelah_, which I suppose to be the
Keilah of 1 Sam. xxiii. I, the scene of a remarkable incident in David's
early career, before retiring to Ziph.  The name is registered four
hundred years before that in Josh. xv. 44, among the cities of Judah.

This, then, being the valley of 'Elah near to Shocoh, must have been the
scene of David and Goliath's encounter.  How could the Latin monks of the
middle ages, and modern Roman Catholic travellers to Jerusalem, ever
believe that it took place at Kaloneh near that city?  The perversion can
only be attributed to their ignorance concerning anything in the country
beyond the immediate vicinity of their convents.

We halted at the ruined village of Shocoh (now made by a grammatical
diminutive form of Arabic into Sh'weikeh) after picking, each of us his
five smooth stones out of the brook, as memorials for ourselves, and for
friends far away, endeavouring at the same time to form a mental picture
of the scene that is so vividly narrated in sacred history, and familiar
to us from early childhood.

There are now no regular inhabitants at the place; only a few persons
occasionally live in caves and broken houses about there.  Some remnants
of antiquity, however, still exist, especially the wells, of fine masonry
and great depth, at the foot of the hill.  This probably represents the
lower Shocoh mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome in the Onomasticon,
"_Soccho_, duo sunt vici ascendentibus Eleutheropoli AEliam in nono
milliario, alter superior, alter inferior, qui vocantur Socchoth in tribu
Judae."  Some peasants wandering about brought me to the fallen lintel of
the door of a small mosque, bearing a rudely-executed Cufic-Arabic
inscription, illegible because, as they said, "it had been eaten by the
nights and days."

Large flocks of sheep were pasturing over the stubble, (for some of the
harvest was already cut in that warm sheltered locality,) led by such
shepherd boys as David the Bethlehemite may have been, and large flights
of blue pigeons circling in short courses over our heads.  Among the
demolished houses some women were churning the milk of the flocks in the
usual mode, by swinging alternately to each other a sewed up goat-skin,
(the bottle of the Old Testament, Josh. ix. 4; Judges iv. 19; Ps. cxix.
83;) a hill close at hand is crowned by a Mohammedan Weli (a kind of
solitary chapel) named _Salhhi_.

The view in every direction is most imposing.  This rough plan will give
a tolerably good idea of the Vale of 'Elah.  Across the valley, opposite
to Shocoh, stands a very fine terebinth-tree.  Possibly in ancient days
there were many such in the district, and so the valley and the village
of 'Elah may have acquired this name.

_'Ajoor_ commands a view of the great plain and the sea.  From that hill,
looking eastwards, the vale has a magnificent appearance as a ground for
manoeuvres of an army.

                     [Picture: Plan of Vale of 'Elah]

Near _Zacariah_ the Wadi es Sunt contains but few of those trees.  We
passed close under that prosperous-looking village with its palm-tree,
mounted a rocky path, and went along a valley "covered over with corn,"
(Ps. cxv. 13;) here the very paths were concealed by the exuberant grain,
so that we had to trample for ourselves a way through it.

Emerging on the great plain, we had to wade monotonously through an ocean
of wheat.  How I longed to have with me some of the blasphemers of the
Holy Land, who tell us that it is now a blighted and cursed land, and who
quote Scripture amiss to show that this is a fulfilment of prophecy.

In many places, however, we saw how the rich produce had been trampled
down and rolled upon by camels, or by Bashi-bozuk soldiers on their
travels, after their horses were gorged to the full with gratuitous
feeding.  We met a black slave of 'Othman el Lehham of Bait 'Atab, a fine
fellow, well mounted and armed, and he told us that a large part of this
wheat was his master's property.  He had been travelling from village to
village upon business.  His noble bearing, and his being thus
confidentially employed, reminded me of the Arabic proverb, that "Even a
Shaikh's slave is a Shaikh."

In one place I remarked some hundred yards square of fine oats.  This was
surprising, as I knew that oats are not cultivated in Palestine.  The
people assured me that they were of wild growth, but they were of
excellent quality; and as the name (Khafeer) seemed to be well known, it
seems difficult to understand that oats have not been at some time
cultivated in that part of the country.  With respect to its Arabic name,
it is worth notice how near it is to the German name (Hafer) for oats.
Wetzstein has since found wild oats growing on the N.E. of the Hauran.

Arrived at _'Ain Shems_, the Beth Shemesh of the Bible, (I Sam. vi. 9,
_passim_,) where, instead of the large population of ancient times, we
found nothing but a weli and some fragments of peasant houses.

Due north from us as we rested, lay on the summit of a hill, _Sora'a_,
which is Zorah, the birthplace of Samson, where the angel appeared to
Manoah and his wife.  The people told us of _Amooriah_ to the left, but
we could not quite see it, and the same with respect to _Tibneh_, or
_Dibneh_, the Timnath of Samson's history.

All the plain and the low hills formed one waving sheet of corn, without
divisions or trees; and often, as we had no tracks for guidance, we had
to take sight of some object on the horizon, and work straight forward
towards it.  It was amid such a wonderful profusion that Samson let loose
the foxes or jackals with firebrands, taking revenge on the Philistines,
and he called it "doing them a displeasure!"  I have seen from Jerusalem
the smoke of corn burning, which had accidentally taken fire in that very

On the summit of a hill, where were good square stones of old masonry, I
got into a sheepfold of stone walls, looking for antiquities; but, alas!
came out with my light-coloured clothes covered with fleas; fortunately
the clothes were not woollen.

Further on we had _Bait Ziz_, or _Jiz_, on the right, with _Dejajeh_, or
_Edjajeh_, and _Na'ana_, or _Ra'ana_, on the left; _Khulda_ in the
distance at N.W.; a vast expanse of growing grain in every direction.

The population hereabouts are a fine race for stature, and paler in
complexion than our peasantry on the hills; and it ought to be the
reverse, unless, as is certainly the case, they are a distinct people.

We traversed the plain to _'Akir_, which is Ekron of Scripture, one of
the five principal cities of the Philistines, and chief place of the
worship of Baal-zebub, (2 Kings i. 3.)  All our inquiries had been in
vain for any name that could possibly have been Gath.  The utter
extinction of that city is remarkable--the very name disappearing from
the Bible after Micah, B.C. 730.  Amos, B.C. 787, and Zephaniah, B.C.
630, mention the four other cities of the Philistines, omitting Gath.
The name never occurs in the Apocrypha or the New Testament.

'Akir is now a very miserable village of unburnt brick; indeed, all the
villages of this district are of that material, owing to the extreme
rarity of stone.  We saw women cutting bricks out of the viscous alluvial
soil, and boys swimming luxuriously in the pool of rain water settled
during winter in the excavation for bricks--quarry we might style it, if
the material were stone.  There was plenty of ploughing in progress for
the summer crops of sesame, durrah, etc., and the people seemed rich in
horned cattle.

This last feature constitutes another difference between them and the
hill country.  In the mountains, where the Bedaween forays are almost
unknown, the cattle bred are principally sheep and goats.  On the plains,
flocks of sheep might be easily swept off by those marauders, oxen not so
easily; the people, therefore, principally breed this species of cattle,
and instead of idle shepherd boys amusing themselves with little flutes,
and guiding the sheep by throwing stones at them, the herds here are
driven by mounted horsemen with long poles.  The flatness of the country
and the frequency of oxen will serve to illustrate the exactness of Bible
narratives, particularly in the matter of the wheeled carriage and the
kine used for conveying the ark of God from this place, Ekron, to
Bethshemesh (I Sam. vi.)

Forward we went to _Yabneh_, (Jabneel of Josh. xv. II, and Jabneh of 2
Chron. xxvi. 6,) where it is mentioned in connexion with Gath and
Ashkelon.  It was a border city of Judah, where the _Wadi Surar_, (called
here the river _Rubin_,) forms the boundary between Judah and Dan.  I
think we may identify it as the "Me-Jarkon and the border that is over
against Japho," of Josh. xix. 46.  It is the Jamnia, where, for a long
time after the Roman overthrow of Jerusalem, was a celebrated college of
the Talmudists, before, however, the traditions and speculations of the
rabbis were collected into volumes of Mishna and Gemara.  It is believed
that the truly great and venerable Gamaliel is buried here.

              [Picture: Ancient church, now mosque, Yabneh]

Yabneh stands on a rising ground, and although a village of sun-baked
bricks, it has remains of a Christian church, now used as a mosque, with
a tower of stone.

While resting under a tree, awaiting the coming up of our baggage,
'Abd'errahhman Bek el 'Asali, a companion of ours from Jerusalem, threw a
stone at a young filly and cursed her, because the colours of her legs
were of unlucky omen.  On such matters the native Moslems entertain
strong prejudices, which are based upon precise and well-known rules.

On the arrival of our mules, we pitched the tents upon a pretty green
common with a row of trees; the verdure consisted of wild clover, and
leaves remaining of wild flowers--chiefly of the wild pink.  It is an
Arab proverb that "Green is a portion of paradise."

The villages in sight were _Besheet_ to the S.E., and _El Kubeibeh_ to
the N.E.  Our day's journey from Bait Nateef had been one of only seven
hours, viz., from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M.

The population seemed very industrious: they have cheerful _bayarahs_, or
enclosed orchards, and the open fields were exceedingly well cultivated.
The evening scene was most pleasing, comprising the return of flocks and
herds from pasture, and the barley-harvest coming home upon asses and
camels with bells on their necks--all enlivened by the singing or
chattering of women and children.

As the day advanced I was happily employed at my tent door reading the
Arabic New Testament; it should have been in Hebrew at Yamnia, as being
more profitable than all the Pirke Avoth of the Talmud.  At sunset our
party walked out in the fields to shoot the pretty bee-eaters.

Of this village there is a tale current among the peasantry over the
country, which conveys an important lesson for the conduct of human life.

An old Shaikh of Yabneh had five sons.  When very old, a complaint was
brought to him that some one had stolen a cock; so he called together his
sons and ordered them all to search for the cock; but it was not found.
Some time afterwards it was represented to him that a sheep was stolen;
he then commanded his sons to go and search for the cock.  They replied,
"O our father, it is not a cock but a sheep that is stolen;" but he
persisted in his command, and they did what they well could, but without
success.  After that he was told that a cow was missing; he again
commanded his sons to look after the cock.  They thinking he had lost his
senses, cried, "_Sallem 'akalak ya Abuna_, (May God perfect thy
understanding, O our father,) it is not a cock but a cow that is
missing."  "Go look for the cock," persevered the old man; they obeyed,
but this time again without success.  People wondered and thought him in
a state of mere dotage.  Next came the news that a man was killed.  The
father pertinaciously adhered to his first injunctions, and ordered his
sons to look for the cock.  Again they returned without finding it, and
in the end it came to pass that the killing of the man brought on a blood
feud with his relations--the factions of several villages took up the
case for revenge, and the whole town was destroyed, and lay long in a
state of desolation, for want of sufficient zeal in discovering and
punishing the first offence, the stealing of the cock, which thus became
a root of all the rest.  There is a good deal of wisdom contained in this
narrative or allegory, whichever it may be considered.  Offenders become
emboldened by impunity, and the first beginnings should be checked.

_Thursday_ 3_d_.--Early dew around the tents upon the green.  We mounted
at half-past six.  I rode up to the village and got to the top of the
tower in the village.

After an hour and a half of level riding southwards, we arrived at a
broad old sycamore in the middle of the road.

Another hour brought us to _Asdood_ (_Ashdod_) of the Philistines, with
_Atna_ and _Bait Duras_ on our left.  I do not know where in all the Holy
Land I have seen such excellent agriculture of grain, olive-trees, and
orchards of fruit, as here at Ashdod.  The fields would do credit to
English farming--the tall, healthy, and cleanly population wore perfectly
white though coarse dresses, and carried no guns, only the short sword
called the Khanjar.  We rested in an orchard beneath a large
mulberry-tree, the fruit of which was just setting, and the adjacent
pomegranate-trees shone in their glazed foliage and bright scarlet
blossoms, the hedges of prickly pear were bursting into yellow fruit,
palm-trees rising beyond, the sky was of deep sapphire brilliancy, and
the sun delightfully hot.

Here then had been the principal temple of the fish-god Dagon, which fell
nightly in presence of the Israelitish ark.  Not the only temple,
however, for there is still a village near Jaffa with the name of _Bait
Dajan_, and another still further north, in the same plain, but in the
Nabloos district.  Strange that this temple of Dagon at Ashdod should
have survived and preserved its worship so late as nearly to the
Christian era, when it was burnt by Jonathan the Jerusalem high priest,
(Josephus Ant., xiii. 4, 4; Macc. x. 84.)

Ought not Gath to be sought between this, and Ekron, according to 1 Sam.
v.?  See also 2 Chron. xxvi. 6.

Soon after remounting we arrived at the ruin of a fine old _Khan_, one of
the numerous establishments of the kind upon the camel road from Damascus
to Egypt, but now every one of them is broken and unfit for use.  There
was a noble column of granite lying across the gateway, and two Welies
close adjoining.

Reached _Hhamameh_ at 11 A.M., from which we turned aside through lanes
of gardens, and over deep sand towards _'Ascalon_, leaving _Mejdal_ on
our left, with its lofty tower rising over an extensive plantation of
olive-trees.  This tower is believed to be of Moslem erection.  Passing
another village on our left, we at length came to _Jurah_, a wretched
brick hamlet, stuck as it were against the ancient walls of 'Ascalon.

We were on the sea-beach at noon.  Upon this beach lie stupendous masses
of overthrown city wall, and numerous columns of blue-gray granite of no
very imposing dimensions.  A great number of these have been at some time
built horizontally into those walls, from which their ends protrude like
muzzles of cannon from a modern fortification.  This arrangement, with
the same effect, is also found at Tyre, Caesarea, and other places along
the coast.

The site or lie of the city is principally in two hollow basins, in which
the detrition of houses forms now a soil for grain, for fruit gardens and
good tobacco.

We were shown the ruins of what the people call "the Church," where there
are several very large columns of polished granite lying prostrate, but
neither there nor elsewhere could any capitals be found belonging to the
columns.  All over the East such objects are appropriated by townspeople
as ornaments inside the houses, especially at the mouths of wells.

The people pointed out to us from a distance the spot where H. E. Zareef
Pasha had lately obtained the marble slab of bas-relief, which he sent to
the museum at Constantinople.

The walls of 'Ascalan are clearly distinguishable in all their circuit,
and have been of great thickness.

The position of this "Bride of Syria," as the Saracens designated it, is
very fine, and the prospect around must have been beautiful; but of this
prize of so many sieges and neighbouring battles, the joy of Richard
Coeur de Lion, where he laboured with his own hands in repairing the
broken walls, only its name with the scriptural and later romantic
history remain to claim our attention, and verify the prediction of the
prophet Zephaniah, ii. 4-6.

I found no coins there, and none were brought to me; only some were
brought to me in an after-journey at Mejdal; I therefore pass by for this
time the classical allusions to the fish goddess, Deceto.  A beautiful
head of a female statue, but blackened by fire, brought from Ascalon, has
since been sold to me, which I delivered to our museum.

We remained there an hour, then rode to _Naaleea_.  The fine plain over
which we galloped must have had many an English rider upon it in the
Crusading times--many a man who never saw "merrie England" again, even in
company with King Richard.

_Naaleea_, though built of brick, bears an appearance of real
cleanliness; the olive plantation from Mejdal reaches thus far.

The barley reaped at _Berberah_ was, I believe, the finest I have ever
seen; and there were pretty roads winding among olive groves, orchards
well enclosed by prickly-pear hedges, with bee-eaters skimming and
twittering before us.

_Bait Jirja_ on the left; then after a good while _Bait Hhanoon_ also on
the left.

Reached _Ghuzzeh_ (Gaza) at 5 P.M.  The very remarkable approach is by an
avenue of at least a mile long, very wide like a boulevard, through an
immense park of olive grounds, with the city for an object of vista at
the end.

We encamped on the further side of Gaza, having the old reservoir called
_Birket el Basha_ between us and the Lazaretto.

Cheerful scene of camels and asses bearing the barley-harvest home,
attended by women and children; small flocks of sheep also, with their
shepherd lads playing sweet and irregular airs on their _nayahs_.

_Friday_ 4_th_.--I resolved to stay here over Sunday.

The morning was cool, and though our situation was entirely unsheltered,
I judged even the risk of exposure to the noontide sun, when it should
arrive, not to be refused, while it gave us the blessings of free air
from the sea and delivery from mosquitoes, which would certainly have
plagued us under the shade of the fruit-trees.  There was a mean suburb
in front of our position, tenanted solely by Egyptians.

The sound of the distant sea rolling on the beach (though this was out of
sight,) was music to my ears.  Near us was a fence of the prickly-pear,
(named _Saber_, or "patience" in Arabic.)  One of our party referred to
its extraordinary degree of vitality, even under disadvantageous
circumstances.  "Yes," replied the 'Asali, "she has drunk of the water of

I went to visit the Lazaretto, and while conversing with the doctor (M.
Esperon,) and the Turkish superintendent, four wild Arabs were brought
in, their hands fettered and chains on their legs, accused of striking a
soldier near _Khan Yunas_.  When identified by witnesses merely uttering
two or three words, they were removed, cruelly pushed about in their
chains and beaten on the head by the soldiers, who enjoyed the cowardly
fun which they would not dare to perpetrate had the fine tall fellows had
their limbs at liberty.

The captain of the Bashi-bozuk, having called at my tents with his
mounted troop, followed me to the Lazaretto.

Returning home, and after some rest, or rather a visit from some Greek
Christians which gave me no rest, I went to visit the newly-arrived
kaimakam, or governor, one of the celebrated 'Abdu'l-Hadi family of
Nabloos.  His divan room was crowded with visitors of congratulation:
such as shaikhs of villages, and some dignified Arab chiefs; the latter
interceding on behalf of the men recently captured by the quarantine
people; the former soliciting their official investitures for their
several districts.  The house was exceedingly mean and shattered, but
this medley of visitors formed an interesting subject of study.

I next visited the kadi, (judge,) who was holding his court in the open
air, with a canvas screen to shelter his head from the sun, in the midst
of orchards and a flower garden.  A cause, in which some women were
vociferating and screeching in Arabic, (to which that language lends
peculiar facility,) was suspended in order to receive my visit, and the
litigants had to remain in silence at some distance till I left,
returning to the tents.

All the people here praise the air and water of Gaza, and declare that
disease of any kind is nearly unknown, except ophthalmia, which, of
course, can be generally prevented.  Provisions are said to be cheap; but
the bread, as sold in the market, not so good as in Jerusalem or Nabloos.
Probably their excellent wheat is exported to a distance.

_Saturday_, 5_th_.--Rode southwards on a day's excursion to Khan Yunas,
with my people and an escort of two of the quarantine Bashi-bozuk.  One
of these, named Hadji Ghaneem, was a hardy old fellow, encircled by
pistols and swords; his old gun, that was slung at his back, had the
rusty bayonet fixed, perhaps fixed by the rust.  The other, Hadji
Khaleel, was an amusing companion, with plenty to tell and fond of

Started before 7 A.M., passing between cornfields, with numerous larks
trilling in the air.

At some distance we came to a low hill lying on our right hand, all the
ground about being mere sea sand drifted inland.  This is called
_Tell-ul-'Ejel_, "the Calf's Hill," so named from its being haunted by
the ghost of a calf, which no one has yet laid hold of, but whenever this
shall be accomplished the fortunate person will come into possession of
the boundless treasures concealed within the hill.  Some say that this
good luck will happen to any one that is favoured with a dream of the
calf three times in succession.  All our party professed to believe the
local tradition, especially one who had been in Europe, and from whom
such credulity had been less expected; but he was sure that some tales of
that nature are well founded, and if so, why not this?  In my opinion, it
is probably a superstition connected with some ancient form of idolatry.

Half-way along our journey we came to a village called _Ed Dair_, (the
convent, perhaps the _Dair el Belahh_ of the list;) but this appellation
Dair is often given to any large old edifice of which the origin is
unknown.  Here was a loop-holed Moslem tower occupied by twenty men of
the Bashi-bozuk.  Such towers are called _Shuneh_ in the singular,
_Shuan_ in the plural.

_Khan Yunas_ is a hamlet of unburnt bricks, dirty and ruinous, which is
not always the case with other villages of that material; the reason of
this being so, I suppose to be, that most of its few houses are inhabited
by Turkish soldiers.  This is the last station southwards held by the
sultan's forces, the next, _El Areesh_, being an Egyptian outpost.  I was
desirous of visiting that place had time allowed, not only for the
satisfaction of curiosity on the above account, but in order to get some
idea from ocular inspection whether the little winter stream or Wadi
there could ever have been the divinely-appointed boundary of the land
promised to Abraham and his seed for ever.  My prepossession is certainly
to the contrary.

However, I rode ten minutes beyond Khan Yunas, and sat to rest in a field
beneath a fig-tree; the day was hot and brilliant, but there was a fine
breeze coming in from the sea.  The scene was picturesque enough, for
there was a mosque-minaret and a broken tower rising behind a thick grove
of palm-trees and orchards of fig, vine and pomegranate--a high bank of
yellow sand behind the houses of the village, and the dark blue
Mediterranean behind that.

With respect to the name of the place, there are many such in the
country, and it is a mistake to ridicule the Moslems for believing in all
of them as true sites of the large fish vomiting out Jonah, which they do
not.  These are, I believe, merely commemorative stations, and we are not
in the habit of ridiculing Christians for having several churches under
the same appellation; also it is not quite certain that all the Welies
named after Yunas (Jonas) or Moosa (Moses) do refer to the Old Testament
prophets.  There have been Mohammedan reputed saints bearing those names.

Near this place is a village called _Beni Seheela_.  On the return we
left behind us the old Hadji Ghaneem, with his brown bayonet, and took a
nearer road to Gaza, not so close to the sea as that by which we had left
it.  It was an easy pleasant ride, and there were barley crops almost all
the way.  We reached the tents in three hours from Khan Yunas.

At sunset, which is the universal dinner time in the east, I went to dine
with the Governor Mohammed 'Abdu'l Hadi; it was a miserable degrading
scene of gorging the pilaff with the hands and squeezing the butter of it
through the fingers, without even water for drink supplied by the
servants.  The guests were about a dozen in number, and they were crowded
so closely round the tinned tray as only to admit of their right arms
being thrust between their neighbours, in order to do which the sleeves
had to be tucked back; there was but little conversation beyond that of
the host encouraging the guests to eat more.

Previous to eating, the governor and his younger brother performed their
prayers in brief, after experiencing some difficulty in finding the true
Kebleh direction for prayer, the rest of the company gossiping around
them all the time.  Above our heads was suspended a rude copper lamp, and
the terrace just outside the door was occupied by slaves and other
attendants; boughs of adjoining palms and other trees were softly stirred
by an evening breeze, and the imperial moon shone over all.

After washing of hands and a short repose, (the other guests smoking of
course their chibooks and narghilehs, and chatting upon topics of local
interest,) I asked leave, according to Oriental etiquette, to take my

_Sunday_, 6_th_.--Read the eighth chapter of Acts in Arabic, and some of
our English liturgy in that noble language, with one of my companions.  I
feel certain, concerning the dispute whether the word [Greek word]
(desert) in the twenty-sixth verse of the above chapter, refers to the
city or to the road, that the true sense of the passage is this, "Go
toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto
Gaza"--_i.e._, the way which is desert or free from towns and
villages--as in Matt. iii. 1, and other places where the word in question
does not imply the common European idea of any desolate wilderness.

I enjoyed a Sabbath stillness during most of the day, the people having
been instructed that English Christians observe the Lord's-day with more
serious composure than it is the habit of native Christians to do.

In the afternoon, however, the governor came on a visit with a long train
of attendants mounted on beautiful horses, for which, indeed, this
district is famed--there were specimens of Manaki, Jilfi, K'baishan,
Mukhladiyeh, etc., etc.  Mohammed, of course, discoursed as well as he
could on European politics, and stayed long.

After his departure I strolled to look at some short columns of marble
standing on a slight swell of ground; they are now inscribed to the
memory of certain Moslem martyrs in battle of our fourteenth century,
_i.e._, about seven centuries after the Hej'ra.  These columns look very
much as if they had been taken from some old Christian church, then each
sawn into halves, and each of the halves partly sliced on one side to
receive the inscription.

After sunset I dined with old Ibrahim Jahhshan, and his numerous
household, (the principal one of the Christian families,) and a troop of
friends.  It was not a better entertainment than that of the kaimakam
yesterday; perhaps, it would not be desirable for him to surpass the
constituted authority of the city in such matters.

Among the company was the Nazir el Aukaf, (the superintendent of
mosque-endowment property,) also a Durweesh from Lahore, consequently a
British subject,--he was full of fun, and wanted me to make him a present
of some fulminating balls and crackers; he assured me that in the Hharam
(sanctuary, commonly called the Mosque of Omar,) at Jerusalem, there were
at least thirty such British subjects as himself residing, including his
own brother.  A Turkish soldier present drank wine, as soon as the
commissioner for inquiring into the delinquencies of the late governor
had turned his back upon the table.

Before dinner I had accompanied the family to the church, (Greek rite,)
where the priest was waiting to receive me.  It was a poverty-stricken
edifice, purposely kept so, in order to obviate the envy and malice of
the Mohammedans; and all the Christians that I saw in Gaza were a
stupid-looking people; they are few in number, and grievously oppressed
by their numerous Moslem fellow-townsmen, being far away from the notice
of consuls.  One cannot but regard with compassion a people who have for
ages endured suffering for the name of Christ, while facilities are
offered for acquiring wealth and honour by apostasy.  Generation after
generation remains still as firm in their Christian creed as those before
them, and now perhaps more so than ever.

I was surprised to learn that it is only about two generations since the
Samaritans ceased to be a sect in Gaza, with their place of worship--they
are now found nowhere but in Nabloos.

There is a slave-traffic in Gaza; but it only consists in the consignment
of articles already commissioned for in Egypt, on behalf of private
purchasers in Syria--at least, so the world is given to understand.  The
boundary of the two countries is so near that the Arabic dialect spoken
here nearly approaches the Egyptian.

I made some inquiries as to the popular ideas on the achievements of
Samson at Gaza, but only obtained such uncertain and even contradictory
answers, that on this journey it did not seem worth while to take any
great trouble on the subject; but I certainly had not expected to get
better information from either the Mohammedans or from the poor ignorant
Christians there.

The night was most beautiful, with full moonlight streaming, and stars
peering between the swaying fronds of the lofty palm-trees, which grow
more luxuriantly in Gaza then I had seen elsewhere.

The muleteers singing around their watch-fire.

_Monday_, 7_th_.--Tents struck and march commenced at 7 A.M.  We returned
through the great avenue by which we had arrived, but soon diverged upon
the road to Hebron.

Alongside of _Bait Hhanoon_ by half-past eight, where there was abundance
of bee-eaters, and these imply fruit-trees.  'Abd'errahhman tried to
shoot some, but failed, having no small shot, but only bullets for his

At nine we left _Timrah_ a little on our left.  The people everywhere
busied in reaping barley--a very lively scene; the reapers, as usual all
over Palestine, wearing large leather aprons exactly like those used by
blacksmiths in England, only unblackened by the forge; the women had face
veils of the Egyptian pattern.  Cows, goats, and sheep were feeding at
liberty in the fields upon the new stubble.

In thirty-five minutes more we arrived at _Semsem_, leaving _Bait Nejed_
on the right.

At five minutes past ten we reached _B'rair_, near which we rested for an
hour, the day being very sultry, under an old tamarisk-tree, which on the
plains instead of _Turfa_ is called _Itil_.

An intelligent old man named 'Ali came up to me from the reaping and
conversed much on the sad condition of agricultural affairs, complaining
of the cruel oppression suffered by the peasantry from their petty local
tyrants, and entreated me if I had any means of letting the Sultan of
Constantinople know of it, that I would do so.  He particularly described
the exactions they had to endure from Muslehh el 'Az'zi of Bait Jibreen,
and all his family.

Thence passing over an extensive plain, we had in sight for a long time a
distant Dair (so-called convent) and village of _Karateen_, also at one
time a village called _Hhata_.

At twenty minutes to one we reached _Falooja_; the heat had become
intense, and incessant swarms of black stinging flies annoyed our horses
beyond patience.  In fact the Philistine plain (which, however, we were
now soon to leave) was always noted for the plague of flies, and this
gave rise to the ancient deprecatory worship of Baal-zebub, "the lord of
flies," by that people; there is still a village upon the plain named
_Dair ed Duban_, "the convent (or temple) of flies."  Later in the summer
this plague is said to be so intolerable to horses and animals of burden
that travelling is only attempted there by night-time.

At length came a rustling noise along the fields and rain fell slowly in
drops large as good teaspoonfuls, yet the heat was so great that my coat
of nearly white linen did not for some time show marks of wetness; a
black cloud from which the water fell accompanied us along the line of
route, and the rain from it increased.

Over the plain going eastwards we had for a long time in view a rocky
hill with a Weli crowning its summit; on our right, _i.e._ southwards, a
conspicuous object, and called _'Arak Munshiyah_ (the rock of Munshiyah.)
This is not to be confounded with the similar cliff cropping out of the
plain, but upon our left, and called _Tell es Safieh_.

We noticed several deserted villages with small breastworks and turrets
of loose construction remaining where the peasantry had of late resisted
the raids of the southern Bedaween, but unsuccessfully.  We were told by
a solitary foot-passenger of such incursions having taken place only a
day or two before, whereupon our muleteers took fright and hurried on
apace.  We all examined the state of our firearms, while the storm was
driving furiously in our faces.

The rain was over as we reached _Bait Jibreen_, just after 3 P.M.  This
important place was our station for the day.  We pitched in an eligible
situation under a line of olive-trees at some distance from the houses,
in view of the principal antique buildings.  The principal people came
out to welcome us, especially 'Abdu'l 'Azeez, the brother of the Nazir
Shaikh Muslehh, for whom I had brought a letter of recommendation from
the governor of Gaza.

We were fatigued as much as anything from the effect of the shirocco
wind.  Then dark clouds from a distance with thunder surrounded us.  As
the time of sunset approached, the preparations for dinner were
interrupted by the driving of a heavy shirocco, low, near the ground,
which soon became so strong that the tents began to tumble over, and we
took refuge in the house of 'Abdu'l 'Azeez; there was, however, no rain.

Here then I was lodged in a house of sun-baked bricks plastered inside
with mud, but as clean as such a house could possibly be.  There were
cupboard recesses in the walls, a fireplace and chimney, wooden nails
driven into "sure places" in the walls, (see Isa. xxii. 23,) strange
scratches of blue and red painting in fancy scrolls, etc.; a raised
Mastabah or dais, and a lower part of course near the door, for guests to
leave their shoes there; the whole being roofed by a few strong beams
wattled between with faggot-wood.  A piece of ancient marble lay across
the doorway.

The very rudely fabricated lamp was lighted from a huge clump of wood
taken burning from the hearth.  Dinner as uncivilised but as hospitable
as could be expected at half-past nine.  I should have had my own long
before but for the tempest outside.

News arrived that eighty people from _Kuriet el 'Aneb_ (the well-known
village of Abu Gosh on the Jerusalem road from Jaffa) were escaping to us
across the hills, on account of troubles at their home.

Then we very soon lay down to sleep.

_Tuesday_ 8_th_.--'Abdu'l 'Azeez and his two young sons escorted us in
looking over the ruins of old Eleutheropolis, as their town was called in
the period of early Christianity.  These consist of a church near the
great well, another on a hill farther eastwards called St Anna, or, as
the Arabs pronounce it, _Sandanna_, and numerous extensive caverns,
probably enlargements by art from nature.

The former church has a roof remaining only over one of the aisles; the
ground plan of the whole edifice is, however, sufficiently marked out by
the fragments of columns _in situ_.

St Anna is larger and more perfect than this; the semicircular apse is
entire, and there are remains of other buildings attached to the church.
It stands on high ground, and commands a very fine prospect.

The caverns are formed in the substance of chalk hills, often in a
circular form, with a rounded roof, through which an aperture admits both
air and daylight.  Antiquarians are puzzled to account for the origin of
these, as they are too numerous and capacious to be needed for supply of
water; besides that in common times the large well and aqueducts that
bring water from a distance would suffice for that purpose.  They are
likewise too extensive and deep to be required for magazines of grain,
such as the villages on the open plains cut into the underground rocks
for preservation of their food from the raids of the Bedaween; perhaps,
however, some were used for one of these purposes and some for the other.

Near the entrance of one of these excavations, in which there are
passages or corridors with running ornament sculptured along each side,
we found figures (now headless, of course, since the Moslem conquest)
resembling church saints in Europe--one, indeed, had its head remaining,
though disfigured, and the arms posed in the manner of the Virgin Mary
when holding the infant Saviour.  These were sculptured in the chalk rock
itself, and standing in niches hollowed behind them.  If these were
really what they seemed to be, they must have been made in the era of the
Latin kingdom, for the Oriental Christians have never made _images_ of
the saints.

In two other of these caverns, high up on their sides or within the
cupola, we saw short inscriptions of black paint, (if I remember
rightly,) the large characters of which had very much the general forms
of Cufic-Arabic, but not the Cufic of the old coins.  There was also an
ornamented cross in this cupola, and other crosses in other chambers.  We
were totally unable to satisfy ourselves as to how the inscriptions could
have been written at such inaccessible heights.  Certainly the present
race of people are unable even to deface them, were they disposed to do

One excavation we entered with some trouble near the top, and out of some
labyrinthine passages we descended a spiral staircase, with a low wall to
hold by in descending, all cut into the solid but soft rock; there were
also small channels for conducting water from above to the bottom--these
demonstrate the use of the whole elaborate work in this instance, namely
for holding water.

Returning to rest awhile in the house, 'Abdu'l 'Azeez assured me that
immensely tall as he is, he had had eight brothers, all at least equal to
himself; most of them had been killed in their faction battles, and his
father, taller than himself, had died at the age of thirty-one.  His sons
could neither read nor write; they at one time made a beginning, but the
teacher did not stay long enough to finish the job.  "However," said he,
pointing to the one sitting by us, perhaps ten years of age, "he can ride
a mare so that none of our enemies can possibly overtake him."

We left Bait Jibreen soon after 9 A.M., riding through a grove of olives,
and soon arrived alongside of _Dair Nahhaz_, {182} and afterwards
_Senabrah_.  By noon we were quite off the plain, and entering a
beautiful green valley bounded by cliffs of rock sprinkled with dwarf
evergreen oak and pines, the spaces between them being filled up with
purple cistus, yellow salvia, and other flowers.  This continued for an
hour, by which time we had gradually attained a considerable elevation,
where we had our last survey for that journey of the Philistine plain and
its glorious long limit, the Mediterranean Sea.

In another quarter of an hour we rested among the wreck of _Khirbet en
Nasara_, (ruins of the Christians,) not far from Hebron.  Thence I
despatched a messenger to my old friend the Pakeed (agent in temporal
affairs) of the Sephardim Jews in the city, and he sent out provisions to
my halting-place under the great oak, above a mile distant from Hebron.

In regard to the researches after the lost site of Gath, I may mention
that on a later visit to Bait Jibreen, I got Shaikh Muslehh (the
government Nazir, and the head of his family) to tell me all the names of
deserted places he could recollect in his neighbourhood.  I wrote from
his dictation as follows, but it does not seem that the object of inquiry
is among them.  In Arabic the name would most probably be _Jett_ or

Merash.                 Munsoorah.              Umm Saidet.
Sagheefah.              Shemaniyeh.             'Arak Hala.
Lahh'm.                 Shaikh Aman.            'Attar.
Kobaibeh.               Obeyah.                 St Anna.
Fort.                   Ghutt.                  Judaidah.
Martosiyah.             Ahhsaniyeh.             Ilmah.


In August 1849 I left my large family encampment under the branches of
the great oak of Sibta, commonly called Abraham's oak by most people
except the Jews, who do not believe in any Abraham's oak there.  The
great patriarch planted, indeed, a grove at Beersheba; but the "_Elone
Mamre_" they declare to have been "plains," not "oaks," (which would be
_Allone Mamre_,) and to have been situated northwards instead of
westwards from the present Hebron.  With a couple of attendants I was
bound for Beersheba.  The chief of the quarantine, not having a soldier
at home, gave us a peasant to walk with us as far as the _Boorj_,
(Tower,) with a letter of _our own_ handwriting in his name, addressed to
the guard there, directing them to escort us further.

Scrambling up a steep rough lane, due south from the tree, with vineyards
on either side richly laden with fruit, and occasional sumach-trees
bearing bright red berries, we were rewarded on the summit by a vast
prospect of country, hilly before us in the south, Moab and Edom
mountains to the left, and Philistia plains with the Mediterranean on the

All nature was revived by the evening sea-breeze, and the sun in
undiminished grandeur was retiring towards his rest.

On a summit like this, with a wide expanse laid out for survey, there are
large and lively ideas to be conceived in matters of Scriptural
geography.  Consider, for instance, on that spot Psalm cviii., with its
detail of territories one after another.  That "psalm of David" declares
that God in His holiness had decreed the future dispensations of
_Shechem_, (there is its position, Nabloos, in the north of the circular
landscape;) then the _valley of Succoth_, (there it is, the Ghor, or vale
of the Jordan,) coasting between _Gilead_, _Manasseh_, and _Ephraim_;
also _Moab_, with its springs of water, where He would (speaking in human
poetic language) wash His feet, at the period of treading with His shoe
over _Edom_: that remarkable event paralleled in the Prophecy of Isaiah
lxiii., when, in apparel dyed red from Bozrah, the conqueror tramples
down the people in his anger.  The Psalmist then has to triumph over
_Philistia_, that large Shephelah stretched between us and the
sea--concluding with the exclamation, "Who will bring me into the strong
city (Petra)? who will lead me into Edom?"

All this was accomplished by the providence of God in the history of
David, that shepherd boy of Bethlehem, at whose coronation all Israel was
gathered together at Hebron, just behind the spectator on this eminence.

To return, however, from the solemnity of these historical meditations to
the commonplace transactions of the journey, we had to carry on a
considerable amount of wrangling with the muleteers, who were continually
allowing their animals to stumble, and the ropes of the luggage to come
loose, so that the things fell to the ground; I sent them back, and we
proceeded without tents or bedding, only two blankets and our cloaks.
The true reason of the men's behaviour lay in their dread of being
attacked by wild Arabs, and having their animals carried off.

It was about sunset, and our track lay over plains of arable land,
between hills clothed with the usual dwarf evergreens, of baloot,
arbutus, etc., then over eminences with tall fragrant pines, and the
evening breeze sighing among their branches, such as I had only once
heard since leaving Scotland, and that was in the Lebanon.  Old stumps
and half trunks of large trees standing among myriads of infantile
sprouts of pines attested the devastation that was going on, by means of
the peasantry, for making of charcoal, and for supplying logs to the
furnaces of Hebron, where very rude manufactures of glass are carried on.

Along a glen which opened into an arable plain with stubble of millet
(durrah) remaining, but no village near.  There we met a party of Arab
women, and after them a boy mounted on a camel, who informed us that he
was coming from _Merj-ed-Dom_, lying between us and _Samua'_, where there
are remains of antiquity, such as large doorways, cisterns, etc.

The country was all level enough for carriages; and it is probable that
all the way in the south is practicable in like manner, for we know that
Joseph sent carriages from Egypt to his father at Beersheba.

The _Boorj_ is simply a look-out tower, now used for quarantine purposes,
ridiculous as they may be in the pure air of the desert.

There are relics of a village about it; but as the people are living in
caverns rather than taking pains to rebuild their houses, we may infer
that they do not feel secure on the very last remnant of fixed
habitations towards the great southern wilderness, although under Turkish

They are, however, kept in considerable awe of the petty officers
stationed there; for when one of our party was impatient at the intrusion
of a cat near our supper cloth, the people besought us not to injure the
animal, seeing that it was the property of the _Dowleh_ (Government.)
They furnished us with eggs and milk; and, after our meal, we lay down on
the leeward side of the town, to await the rising of the moon.  We had a
fire burning near us, its red light flickering over the wild scene; the
sky with its milky-way over our heads, and the polar star in the
direction of England, fixed in its well-known place.

The villagers had their own chatting round the watchfire, discussing
local politics, chiefly, as to whether 'Abderrahhman the governor of
Hebron was likely to accept the Pasha's invitation to meet 'Abdallah Wafa
Effendi, who was sent with overtures of reconciliation between the
brothers of the Amer family.  This being a question that bore very nearly
on their personal interests.

I awoke just as the moon gleamed in the east, but did not arouse the
youths for another half hour, till I became apprehensive of evil effects
from their sleeping in the moonlight.

After coffee we mounted and went forward, escorted by two of the
quarantine guardians.  There were no more hills, but the remaining
country was all of hard untilled ground, with sprinklings of tamarisk and
kali bushes, which showed we were entering on a new botanical region.

Arrived at an Arab encampment, where our escort were obliged to hire the
shaikh for showing us the way, as they either did not know it, or, which
I believe the more probable, did not dare to take travellers over his
land without his sharing in the profits, even though they were officials
of quarantine.  He soon came up, riding a fine mare of the Saklawi race,
and his spear over the shoulder, glittering in the moonlight.  His name
was _Ayan_, and his people were a small offset from the great _Tiyahah_
tribe.  We passed several other such stations, of which we were always
made aware beforehand by the barking of their dogs, and by seeing the
camels browsing or reposing at a little distance from the tents.

As the night advanced, the mist rose and increased till the stars were
obscured and the moon scarcely perceptible; our clothes also became
nearly wet through.

We reached Beersheba (now called _Beer-es-Seba_) perhaps a couple of
hours before daylight, and after sharing some food, wrapt the blankets
over our heads, and lay down with our heads against the parapet stones of
the great well, and fell asleep, notwithstanding the cold wet mist.

I rose before the sun, and wrote two letters to friends in England by
morning twilight.

The mist disappeared as the glorious sun came forth; and we walked about
to survey the place.  The wide plain around was disused arable land,
showing in some places some stubble from a recent harvest, but only in
small patches, which in the early spring must have been cheerful to the

Near us was a pretty water-course of a winter torrent, shallow and
comparatively wide, but then quite dry.

The great well has an internal diameter at the mouth of twelve feet six
inches, or a circumference of nearly forty feet.  The shaft is formed of
excellent masonry to a great depth until it reaches the rock, and at this
juncture a spring trickles perpetually.  Around the mouth of the well is
a circular course of masonry, topped by a circular parapet of about a
foot high.  And at a distance of ten or twelve feet are stone troughs
placed in a concentric circle with the well, the sides of which have deep
indentions made by the wear of ropes on the upper edges.

The second well, about 200 yards farther south, is not more than five
feet in diameter, but is formed of equally good masonry, and furnishes
equally good water.  This is the most common size of ancient wells
throughout Palestine.

Two other wells of proportions about equal to the first well were shown
us, but they are filled to the brim with earth and stones; and Shaikh
Ayan told us of two others.  The barbarous practice of filling up wells
from motives of hostility was adopted at this place very soon after
Abraham had dug them.  (Gen. xxvi. 15, etc.)  Who can tell how often
these have been opened, closed and opened again?

All Arab-speaking people wish to count neither more nor less than seven
wells here, and so create the name _Seba_; but even in this way the
etymology would not hold good, for the term _seven wells_ would be _Seba
Bear_, not _Beer-es-Seba_.  From the Hebrew history, however, we know how
the designation was first given.  Gen. xxi. 31, "Wherefore he called that
place Beersheba, because there they _sware_ both of them," _i.e._,
Abraham and Abimelech.  Yet it deserves notice that the verb _to swear_
is identical with the numeral _seven_; and in the three preceding verses
we find Abraham ratifying the oath by a sacrifice of _seven_ ewe-lambs as
a public guarantee for the fulfilment of the conditions; the killing of
lambs with this view is a usage which still obtains in the country.

On a rising ground near the wells are scattered lines of houses, covering
a considerable space; but all that now appears is of inferior
construction, and of no importance.

Soon after sunrise the Arabs of the vicinity came to water their flocks
and camels at the troughs.  Young men stripping themselves nearly naked,
two at each well, pulled up goat-skins of water by the same rope, hand
over hand, and singing in loud merriment, with most uncivilised screams
between the verse lines.  These men were of very dark complexion--not
quite black, but nearly so.

There were linnets singing also, but in far more agreeable melody; but
where they could be was more than I could discover--not a tree or a shrub
was within sight-distance.

After an hour we commenced our return by a different route from that of
our arrival.  Shaikh Ayan and Hadj 'Othman, of the quarantine, amusing
themselves with jereed-playing and other mimic manoeuvres of warfare,
which they performed very cleverly.

The shaikh being dismissed with sufficient compliments on each side, we
proceeded upon the main track from Egypt across the plain towards
_Doheriyeh_, passing occasional parcels of durrah stubble rising out of
mere scratches of the soil, varied by the wilderness plants of tamarisk,
etc.  When one remembers the fact of that same land in the days of
Abraham and Isaac producing a hundredfold of corn, (Gen. xxvi. 12,) how
deplorable it is to see it lying untilled for want of population, and
serving only as so much space for wild tribes to roam over it!  Surely it
will not always remain so.

Crossing a good road at right angles with ours, we met a large caravan of
camels going eastwards.  The people told us they were going to _Ma'an_,
(beyond Petra,) one of the Hadj stations between Damascus and Mecca,
where stores of provisions are always laid up by the Government for
supply of the pilgrims at the appointed season of the year.

Approaching the hills, we rested from the heat, which had become
considerable, beneath a neb'k-tree, where all the roads between Egypt and
Hebron meet at a point.

At the entrance of a valley between the hills the quails were very
numerous, and so tame as to come almost under the horses' feet.
Unfortunately, just at the time when wanted, my fowling-piece was found
to be unloaded, that is to say, not reloaded after having gone off
yesterday by an accident.

It was a relief from the great heat to mount the hills to Doheriyeh,
although the road was tiresome, winding round and among the bases of
almost circular hills in succession.  At the village all the population
was cheerfully employed in threshing or winnowing the harvest, and their
flocks crouched in the shade of the trees.  It was early in the
afternoon, and we lay down to rest under the branches of a fig-tree
growing out of a cavern, which cavern was so large that we placed all our
horses in it.

We parted from the quarantine soldiers, and took a guide for Hebron.  The
road was good and direct, through a pleasant country, so that we made
quick progress.  At an hour and three-quarters from Doheriyeh we arrived
at a pretty glen of evergreen oak and pine; and at the entrance of this
glen is a fountain, called _Afeeri_, of beautiful water issuing from a

Shortly after we joined the route by which we had left our encampment
yesterday, near the fountain of _Dilbeh_, where we had drawn water when
outward bound.  Then came to an ancient well of good masonry, hexagonal
in shape, but without water.  A cistern for rain-water was close

Reached the oak of Sibta in twenty-eight hours after leaving it, well
pleased with having been able to visit Beersheba, the scene of many
ancient and holy transactions, in the days when the great patriarchs,
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, walked humbly with their God, and God gave
them a faith capable of overthrowing mountains.

In conclusion, I may express my regret that, although residing in the
country many years afterwards, I could not get an opportunity of visiting
either Beer-la-hai-roi or Isaac's well of Esek.  (Gen. xxvi. 20.)
Concerning the former we find some indications in an appendix to
Williams' _Holy City_; and I have been assured personally that the latter
is still held in estimation by the Bedaween tribes, under the name of
_Esak_, and frequented as a rendezvous for making truces and covenants.

On breaking up our camp at Abraham's oak, the family took the direct road
for Jerusalem, while I struck across the Philistine plain for Jaffa.

With one horseman and a kawwas, I diverged westwards from the common road
just before the descent to 'Ain Dirweh, between it and the ruined town of
Bait Soor, (Bethzur of Joshua xv. 58,) leaving Hhalhhool of the same
verse on my right hand.  Advanced gradually down a woody glen of the
usual evergreen oak and pine.  The higher part of the valley is in
excellent cultivation, with careful walls, and drains to keep off the
winter rains that descend from the hills, although no villages were in
sight except in one place on an eminence to the left, where an apparently
well-built village was entirely abandoned.  It is called _Ma'naeen_; and
the history of it, as I have since learned, is that it was only a few
years before built by a colony of refugees from oppression in sundry
villages, who concerted to set up on their own account, without regard to
the authority of their family connexions, or of the hereditary shaikhs.
So daring an innovation upon national customs was resented by a coalition
of all the country round, who made war upon them, and dispersed the
people once more to their miserable homes.  The Turkish Government
allowed of this proceeding, on the ground that to suffer the
establishment of new villages (which of course implies new shaikhs to
rule them) would derange the account-books of the taxes, which had been
definitely fixed years before under the Egyptian Government.

Lower down, where the glen became narrow and stony, a large rock has been
hewn into a chamber for some ancient hermit, not unlike the one in the
Wadi Ahhmed between Rachel's sepulchre and Batteer (Bether) near
Jerusalem, only in this case the entrance is shaded by venerable
karoobah-trees, so large as to cover the road also with their branches.

We were met by various camel-parties carrying kali for the glass-works of
Hebron during the approaching winter, also fine mats and other goods from
Damietta, which, after being landed at Jaffa, are thus conveyed by
reliefs of camels to their destination of Hebron, Bethlehem, and

On emerging from the valley (Wadi Arab or Shaikh) into the open Vale of
'Elah, we had _Kharas_ perched on an eminence close at our right, and
_Nuba_ similarly posted to our left.

Also the ruins of _'Elah_ were on our left, and far behind our left hand,
in among the hills, on a commanding height, was Keelah.

We were now traversing the Valley of 'Elah, which runs north-westwards,
and which I have described in my former journey.  Now, as on that visit,
I saw young shepherd lads pasturing large flocks as David may have done
over the same ground.

This time, however, I had entered the valley from a different
point--viz., from its eastern end at Kharas, and not where Shocoh and
Bait Nateef lie opposite to each other.

We then traversed the same country as then as far as the village of
_Khuldah_, which is a very thriving place, and where, as usual, on the
wide plains there are not many flocks of sheep, but herds of horned
cattle instead, driven by men on horseback.  This is an indication of
insecurity, on account of forays of Bedaween Arabs, from whom on their
approach they have to scamper as fast as they can.

The same insecurity is attested by each of these villages having its
_Shuneh_, or little rude tower with a breast-work, in which the peasants
may defend themselves when in sufficient force to do so.

Next came _Saidoon_, where we obtained a distant prospect of Ramlah and
Lydd, with Gimzo at the mouth of the Bethhoron Pass, (2 Chron. xxviii.
18,) and Ras-el-Ain still beyond, with its fountains and rich lands
conspicuous on the Great Plain, backed by the hills of Ephraim.  Then we
passed the poor clay-built village of _Deaneh_, where the people were
winnowing a large harvest of millet, and the Government tax-farmers with
their soldiers, lent by the authorities, measuring the heaps.

Lastly, we entered the vast olive grounds belonging to Ramlah, and found
our tents (which had been sent on by another road) just as the Moeddin in
the minaret was calling to sunset prayers.

I am never weary of the scenery about Ramlah; we have there the most
picturesque Orientalism of all Palestine--a warm climate, numerous waving
palm-trees, with the large reservoir for cattle drinking, all gilded in
brilliant sunlight, together with the busy voices of a considerable

A burly fellow of a wandering durweesh or sorcerer, with rows of large
black beads round his neck, came up to us, and bellowed out one of the
ninety-nine attributes of God, according to the Moslems: "Ya Daeem," (O
thou everlasting!)  This was by way of asking alms.  My companion gave
him some, which I would not have done.

In the morning we ascended to the top of the great White Tower, called
"the Tower of the Forty," meaning forty martyrs.  This is a favourite
appellation of ancient ruins in Palestine.  I do not know what it alludes
to.  And from among the Comandalune windows I copied the following

                   [Picture: Window of the White Tower]


Who has ever stood upon the Scopus hill, north of Jerusalem, (his mind
first prepared by biblical reading and biblical feeling,) facing
northwards, and seeing at one glance, as upon a map, the land of the
tribe of Benjamin, without desiring to wander about there, were it only
to experience the reality of standing and breathing upon the sites of
'Anathoth, Michmash, Gibea of Saul, and Gibeon?  It can be most of it
performed in one day, and sometimes a line through it is traversed in
that time by English residents of Jerusalem, namely, from Jerusalem to
Michmash and Bethel, and the return.

There is also a pleasant spot above Lifta, in a grove of olives, figs,
and pomegranates, where Europeans have sometimes established summer camps
for their families.  At that spot it is delightful to repose in the
evening shadows cast by the trees, and gaze over the landscape of
Benjamin, with a deep valley sinking in immediate front, only to rise
again to the greater height of Nebi Samwil and a landscape view extending
as far as the rock Rimmon, which stands in pyramidal form upon the

There are, however, several ancient and biblical sites known to exist
within that circuit that are not visible from either of those stations,
and only to be perceived on reaching the places themselves.  For
instance, Bait Hhaneena of Nehemiah xi. 32.

There is _'Adasa_, the scene of a great victory gained by Judas
Maccabaeus over the mighty host of Nicanor; this I discovered from the
peasants ploughing one day, while resting after a gazelle chase.  It is
not far from Gibeon.  "So Nicanor went out of Jerusalem, and pitched his
tents in Bethhoron, where an host of Syrians met him.  But Judas pitched
in Adasa with three thousand men. . . .  So the thirteenth day of the
month Adar [_i.e._ on the eve of Purim] the hosts joined battle: but
Nicanor's host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the
battle . . . .  Then they pursued after them a day's journey, from Adasa
unto Gazera, sounding an alarm after them with their trumpets," (Macc.
vii. 39-45,) _i.e._ a day's journey for an army, perhaps, that day's
journey after fighting; for it is a pleasant ride with respect to
distance, as I proved by riding to _Jadeerah_, passing through Beer

And on another day's expedition alone, I was riding near 'Anata
(Anathoth) eastwards from the village, thinking over the faith of the
prophet Jeremiah, in purchasing a family estate, the future occupation of
which was contrary to all human probability, and after recounting to
myself the cities of Benjamin allotted to the priests, as Anathoth, (to
which the treasonable priest Abiathar belonged, 1 Kings ii. 26,) Gibeon,
and Geba, wondering what had become of the fourth city Almon, (Josh. xxi.
17, 18,) I came up to a hill on which appeared some remains of an ancient
town; there my horse carried me up the steep side, and while passing
among the lines of foundations on the summit, a peasant who joined me
said the place was called _'Alman_.  Some time afterwards, I was riding
on the other side of the same hill, in the direction of _Hhizmeh_, (the
Az-maveth of Neh. vii. 28, as I suppose,) when a peasant informed me that
the place on the hill was named _Almeet_.  This corresponds to the other
name of the town as given in 1 Chron. vi. 60, and vii. 8, where it is
Alemeth.  So remarkable a preservation of both names by another people
than the Jews, after long or perhaps repeated desolations, appears to me
almost miraculous, and is a fresh illustration of the exact verbal
inspiration of Holy Scripture.

I once visited the rock Rimmon of Judges xx. 47.  The first part of the
journey was made in company with Lieutenant Vandevelde, going from
Jericho to Bethel, a totally-unknown road; it must have been the same as
that taken by Joshua after the fall of Jericho.

This was in 1852.  The Arabs were unwilling to take us in that direction,
probably on account of some local hostilities to which they might be
exposed.  At first they denied there was any road that way, then said it
was so difficult that we could not reach Bethel in less than two days,
which was ridiculous, considering the shortness of the distance.  At
length we resolved to find a road without them, and ordered the luggage
to go round by Khatroon, or if necessary by Jerusalem, but to meet us at
Bethel that night.

Shaikh Mohammed el Hejjaz then sent with us his slave Suliman.  By his
having that Moslem name, I should suppose this to be a freed-man,
inasmuch as it is not the custom to give Moslem or Christian names to
slaves; they may be only called Jewel, Diamond, Cornelian, Thursday,
Friday, etc.  It is not uncommon for a freed-man to be still called in
popular speech _a slave_; but not in serious earnest or in matters of
business, and not unless they are blacks from Africa.

It is not unusual in the East for a slave, even though still in bondage,
to be educated in reading and writing, to be trained in military
accomplishments, and so to be employed as confidential agent of property,
or trainer of children in the family, riding the best horses and carrying
weapons of best quality.  And this Suliman was a bright specimen of that
class of men,--of good bodily presence, merry-humoured, and

The first part of the journey in crossing the Quarantana mountain was
precipitous, and even dangerous for strangers; but the summit being
attained, the whole of the remaining distance was a level plain.  We were
upon remains of an ancient road, with wells frequently occurring by the
wayside; many of them, however, choked up with stones and earth.

Plodded quietly along, when, about two hours from Jericho, we were
surprised by hearing human wailing and cries for mercy near us.  This was
discovered to come from a boy of about twelve years of age who had
concealed himself behind a bush of _ret'm_, (juniper of Scripture.)  He
had never seen Europeans before, and, on perceiving the Hejjaz slave at
our head, was apprehensive that we should plunder him of his ass and her
foal.  He was a peasant of _Dair Dewan_, {203} a village on the way
before us.

In half an hour more we came up to a cleanly-dressed and pleasant-looking
shepherd lad, who was not at all afraid of us.  He conducted us to a well
of good water, named _Beer Mustafa_, a little off the road, at the
heading of the small wadi _Krishneh_; there we rested half an hour.

In another hour we reached the ruins of Abu Sabbakh, from which we had
_Remmoon_ visible on our right.

During all the day's journey we passed through a good deal of wheat and
barley cultivation, the crops ripening fast, it being at the beginning of

In another half hour we arrived at Dair Dewan, the Beth-aven of
Scripture, {204} a flourishing village,--remarkably so, as evinced by its
buildings, its fruit orchards, and corn fields all around.  Progress in
such affairs is a sure token of a village being peopled by Christians.
In the well-kept cemetery belonging to the place, it was pleasant to see
an enormous quantity of large blue iris flowers growing between the
graves, and often concealing them from view till nearly approached.

Turning abruptly westward, in twenty minutes we came to the hill of
stones called Tell-el-hajjar, which I had on a former occasion identified
as the site of Ai, lying as it does between Beth-aven and Bethel, (Josh.
viii.,) and having the deep valley alongside northwards.  Here Vandevelde
took bearings, with his theodolite, of points within sight; and in a
quarter of an hour from this we reached Bethel, (now called Bait-een,)
that is in less than five hours, including an hour's stoppage at the Tell
from the 'Ain-es-Sultan by Jericho, where the Arabs had, for their own
reasons, tried to persuade us that the journey was impossible, or would
at least occupy two days.

Our tents and luggage arrived soon after we did.  Bait-een has been so
often described, and its biblical events so often quoted by travellers,
that it is not necessary to do so while professedly dealing only with
byeways in Palestine; yet this may be said, that no distance of time can
entirely efface the exquisite pleasure of exploring ground and sites so
accurately corresponding as this did to the topography of the Bible, and
belonging to events of such antiquity as the acts of Abraham and Joshua.

In the morning I separated from my friends, who were preceding towards
Damascus, and, accompanied by Suliman and a kawwas, went on my way to
_Remmoon_, (the rock Rimmon.)  Started at half-past seven in a thick
shirocco atmosphere, keeping on the northern high road for about a
quarter of an hour in the direction of _Yebrood_, then turned sharply
eastwards over corn-fields, and descended into a deep hot valley.  The
flowers of the field were chiefly cistus, red or white, and hollyhocks
four feet high.  Then ascended to at least a corresponding height into
terraces of fruit-trees well-cultivated; and still mounting, to a fine
plain of wheat, at the end of which was Remmoon, one hour and a quarter
from Bait-een.

The village is built upon a mass of calcareous rock, commanding
magnificent views towards the south, including the Dead Sea and the line
of the Jordan; higher hills bounded the north, on which was conspicuous
the town of _Tayibeh_, near which is a _weli_ or _mezar_ (pilgrimage
station) named after St George, who is an object of veneration to both
Moslems and Christians.  The people of Tayibeh are all or mostly
Christians, and have a church with a resident priest.

We rode up the street of Remmoon, and found the shaikh and principal men
of the town lazily smoking in the shadow of a house.

My object was of course to inquire for a cavern that might be capable of
containing six hundred men during four months.  The people all denied the
existence of such a cavern, but after some parley I was conducted to two
separate caverns on the west side of the hill, then to two others on the
eastern side which are larger, and to each of which we had to arrive
through a house built at its opening.  They told me of two others upon
the hill, but of much inferior size.  Those that I entered were not
remarkable for dimensions above the many that are to be found over the
country.  It is probable that the whole of the refugees might sleep in
these several places, if there were no village there at the time, which
seems probable; but it was merely my own preconceived notion that they
all lived in one vast cavern.  The text of Judg. xx. 47 does not say so.

The village is in good condition, and the cultivation excellent in every
direction around it.  On leaving it for the return to Jerusalem I
proceeded due southwards.  In the fields the people were industriously
clearing away stones--a sure symptom of peace, and consequent

Crossed a valley named _Ma'kook_, and arrived at _Mukhinas_ (Michmash) in
less than two hours from Remmoon.  Rested in the fine grove of
olive-trees in the valley on the north of the town for an hour.  The
birds were singing delightfully, though the time was high noon, and our
horses enjoyed some respite from the sanguinary green flies which had
plagued them all the way from Remmoon; their bellies and fetlocks were
red with bleeding.  In this matter I particularly admired the benevolence
of the slave Suliman.  Yesterday, after a sharp run across a field,
perhaps in the vain hope of escaping the tormentors, he dismounted, and
the mare followed him, walking like a lamb.  He then sat down to switch
away the flies, and rub her legs inwards and outwards.  To-day he had
taken off his Bedawi kefieh, or bright-coloured small shawl, from around
his head, and suspended it between her legs, then, as he rode along, was
continually switching between her ears with a long bunch of the wild

On leaving Mukhmas in the hottest part of the day, we had to cross the
Wadi _Suaineet_, along which to our left appeared the northern extremity
of the Dead Sea.  At a short distance down the valley there are
remarkable precipices on each side, which must be the Bozez and Seneh,
{207} renowned for the bold adventure of Jonathan and his armour-bearer,
and near these projections are some large old karoobah-trees.

Emerging upwards from this wadi one comes to _Jeba'_, (the Gibeah of
Saul, so often mentioned,) upon a table-land extending due east, in which
direction I visited, five years before, an ancient ruin, which the people
of Jeba' call _El Kharjeh_; it consisted of one principal building of
contiguous chambers, built of nicely squared stones, put together without
cement, like several of the remains at Bethel.

These stones are gray with weather stains, but seldom more than three
courses in height remain in their places, though in one place five.

From this site, as well as from Jeba', there is a very striking view of
the northern extremity of the Dead Sea.

The guide told us of a vast cavern in the Wadi Suaineet capable of
holding many hundred men, near to the above-mentioned karoobah-trees, and
therefore just the suitable refuge for the Israelites, (I Sam. xiv. 11,)
besides the Bozez and Seneh; and he told us that half-way down the
precipice there is a course of water running towards the Ghor.

Few incidents in the Bible are so real to the eye and feelings as the
narrative of Jonathan and his office-bearers when read upon the spot of
the occurrence, or near it at Jeba'.

We passed _Jeba'_ at about a quarter of a mile to our right, and in
another quarter of an hour were at the strange old stone parallelograms
under _Hhizmeh_, which had been often before visited in afternoon rides
from Jerusalem.

These are piles of large squared stones of great antiquity, carefully
built into long parallel forms, and now deeply weather-eaten.  No use of
them can be imagined.  I have visited them at all seasons of the year,
and at different hours of the day, but they still remain unintelligible.
They are disposed in different directions, as will be seen in the
following drawing of them, carefully taken by measurement in my presence,
and given me by a friend now in England, the Rev. G. W. Dalton of

               [Picture: Stone constructions under Hhizmeh]

On one face of No. 4 is a kind of entrance, and on the top surface a
round hole about two feet in depth, but they lead to nothing, and are
probably the work of modern peasantry, removing stones from the entire
block; in the former case for the mere object of shade from the sun, and
the latter for the charitable purpose common among Moslems, who often cut
basins into solid rocks, to collect rain or dew for birds of the air or
beasts of the field.

Corroded monuments like these, in so pure and dry an atmosphere, bespeak
a far more hoary antiquity than the same amount of decay would do in an
English climate.

I know of a spot on the side of a wild hill upon the way between Ai (as I
believe the place called the _Tell_ to be) and Mukhmas, where there are
several huge slabs of stone, rather exceeding human size, laid upon the
ground side by side exactly parallel.  These can be nothing else than
gravestones of early Israelitish period, but of which the memorial is now
gone for ever.

Crossing the torrent-bed from the parallelogram, and mounting the next
hill, we were at Hhizmeh; then leaving 'Anata on the left, we traversed
the Scopus near the Mount of Olives, and reached Jerusalem in four hours
and a half of easy riding from Remmoon.

One ought not to quit the mention of this land of Benjamin by omitting
the _Wadi Farah_.

This is a most delightsome valley, with a good stream of water, at a
distance of rather more than two hours from Jerusalem to the N.E.

The way to it is through 'Anata, already described, from which most of
the stones were quarried for the English church in the Holy City, and
then alongside the hill on which stands the ruins with the double name of
'Alman and 'Almeet, discovered by me as above-described.

Once, in the autumn season, a party of us went to Wadi Farah, and
arriving on its precipitous brink found the descent too difficult for the
horses; these, therefore, were left in charge of the servants, while we
skipped or slid from rock to rock, carrying the luncheon with us.

The copious stream was much choked near its source, which rises from the
ground, by a thick growth of reeds, oleanders in blossom, and gigantic
peppermint with strong smell.  There were small fish in the stream, which
was flowing rapidly; wild pigeons were numerous, and a shepherd boy
playing his reed pipe, brought his flock to the water.  Need it be said,
how refreshing all this was to us all after the long summer of Jerusalem.

There were remains of a bridge and considerable fragments of old
aqueducts, _i.e._, good-sized tubes of pottery encased in masonry, but
now so broken as to be quite useless; these lead from the spring-head
towards the Jordan at different levels, one above another.  There was
also a cistern of masonry, with indications of water-machinery having
been at one time employed there; but all these evidences of population
and industry are abandoned to savages and the action of the elements.

Dr James Barclay of Virginia, author of "The City of the Great King,"
believes this site to be that of "AEnon, near to Salim," where John was
baptizing, "because there was much water there," (John iii. 23.)

There can scarcely be a doubt that it is the _Parah_, belonging to the
tribe of Benjamin, in Josh. xviii. 23, and that therefore it was a
settled and cultivated place before the children of Israel took
possession of the land.

The district around,--indeed, all eastwards of 'Anata,--is now
unappropriated; parts of it, however, are sown--not always the same
patches in successive years--by the people of the nearest villages in a
compulsory partnership with the petty Arabs of the Jordan plain.  The
peasantry are forced to find the seed and the labour, and yet are often
defrauded of their share of the produce by the so-called partners
bringing up friends and auxiliaries from the plain, just as the grain is
ripening, and carrying off the produce by night, or setting fire to
whatever they cannot seize in this hasty operation; and this takes place
about two hours from the citadel and garrison of Jerusalem.  Do not ask
where is the Turkish government!

The people are driven to sow the grain upon these conditions, under risk
of having their own crops destroyed or devastated near their homesteads,
and in no case dare they offer any resistance.

I was once unwillingly present at a grievous scene near Elisha's
fountain.  Nas'r Abu' N'sair, shaikh of the Ehteimat, one of the parties
at all times in the above-described partnerships, was seated smoking his
chibook beneath an old neb'k tree when some Christian peasants from
_Tayibeh_ approached him with deep humility, begging permission to sow
grain upon that marvellously fertile plain of Jericho.  For some reason
which did not appear, it suited him to refuse the favour.  In vain the
suppliants raised their bidding of the proportion to be given him from
the proceeds; they then endeavoured to get me to intercede in their
behalf, frequently making the sign of the cross upon themselves, thereby
invoking my sympathy as a fellow-Christian on their side; but on several
accounts it seemed most prudent for me to leave the parties to their own
negotiations, only speaking on their behalf afterwards by sending a
kawwas to recommend kindness in general to the Christian villages.  It
may be that this step met with success, but I could not but be sincerely
desirous to have such Arab vermin as these mongrel tribes swept off the


In October, 1848, I found myself at Sebustieh, the ancient Samaria,
having come thither from Jerusalem by the common route through Nabloos,
_i.e._, Shechem.  Since that time I have often been there, but never
without a feeling of very deep interest, not only in the beauty of its
site, worthy of a royal city, or in the Roman remains still subsisting,
but also in the remarkable fulfilments of Biblical prophecy which the
place exhibits.  The stones of the ancient buildings are literally poured
down into the valley, and the foundations thereof discovered, (Micah i.

We left the hill and its miserable village by the usual track through a
gateway at its eastern side.  Down in the valley lay fragments of large
mouldings of public buildings, and the lid of a sarcophagus reversed,
measuring eight feet in length.

At first we took the common road northwards, and ascending the hill above
_Burka_, from the summit had a glorious prospect of the sea on one side,
and of the populous village country, well cultivated, stretched before
us; we left the common road to _Sanoor_ and _Jeneen_, turning aside under
_Seeleh_, a double village nearest to us, with _Atara_ further west.

The muleteers had preceded us during our survey of Sebustieh, on the way
to 'Arabeh, and we could see nothing of them before us--the road was
unknown to us, and no population could be seen, all keeping out of sight
of us and of each other on account of the alarm of cholera then raging in
the country.

At Nabloos that morning, two hours before noon, we had been told of
twenty having been already buried that day, and we saw some funerals
taking place.  At Sebustieh, the people had refused for any money to be
our guides; one youth said, "he was afraid of the death that there was in
the world."

So my companion and I, with a kawwas, paced on till arriving near sunset
at a deserted village standing on a precipice which rose above a
tolerably high hill, and which from a distance we had been incorrectly
told was 'Arabeh; at that distance it had not the appearance of being
depopulated, as we found it to be on reaching it.  Numerous villages were
in view, but no people visible to tell us their names.  The district was
utterly unknown to maps, as it lies out of the common travellers' route.
This village, we afterwards learned, is _Rami_, and antique stones and
wells are found there.  Though our horses were much fatigued, it was
necessary to go on in search of our people and property, for the sun was
falling rapidly.

Observing a good looking village far before us to the N.W., and a path
leading in that direction, we followed it through a wood of low shrubs,
and arrived at the village, a place strong by nature for military
defence, and its name is _Cuf'r Ra'i_.  There was a view of the sea and
the sun setting grandly into it.

For high pay, we obtained a youth to guide us to 'Arabeh; shouldering his
gun, he preceded us.  "Do you know," said he, "why we are called Cuf'r
Ra'i?--It is because the word Cuf'r means blaspheming infidels, and so we
are--we care for nothing."  Of course, his derivation was grammatically
wrong; for the word, which is common enough out of the Jerusalem district
and the south, is the Hebrew word for a village, still traditionally in
use, and this place is literally, "the shepherd's village."

We passed an ancient sepulchre cut in the rock by our wayside, with small
niches in it to the right and left; the material was coarse, and so was
the workmanship, compared to ours about Jerusalem.

The moon rose--a jackal crossed a field within a few yards of us.  We
passed through a large village called _Fahh'mah_, _i.e._, charcoal, with
fragments of old buildings and one palm-tree.  Forwards over wild green
hills, along precipices that required extreme caution.  The villages
around were discernible by their lights in the houses.  At length 'Arabeh
appeared, with numerous and large lights, and we could hear the ring of
blacksmiths' hammers and anvils--we seemed almost to be approaching a
manufacturing town in "the black country of England." {217}

Arrived on a smooth meadow at the foot of the long hill on which the
place is built, I fired pistols as a signal to our people should they be
there to hear it, and one was fired in answer.  To that spot we went, and
found the tents and our people, but neither tents set up nor preparations
for supper.  Village people stood around, but refused to give or sell us
anything, and using defiant language to all the consuls and pashas in the

Till that moment I had not been aware that this was the citadel of the
'Abdu'l Hadi's factions, and a semi-fortification.  [Since that time, I
have had opportunities of seeing much more of the people and the place.]

Sending a kawwas to the castle, with my compliments to the Bek, I
requested guards for the night, and loading my pistols afresh, stood with
them in my hand, as did my second kawwas with his gun, and we commenced
erecting the tents.

Down came the kawwas in haste to announce that the Bek was coming himself
to us, attended by his sons and a large train.

First came his nephew from his part, to announce the advent; then a
deputation of twenty; and then himself, robed in scarlet and sable fur,
on a splendid black horse of high breed.  I invited him to sit with me on
my bed within the tent, widely open.  The twenty squatted in a circle
around us, and others stood behind them; and a present was laid before me
of a fine water-melon and a dozen of pomegranates.

Never was a friendship got up on shorter notice.  We talked politics and
history, which I would rather have adjourned to another time, being very
tired and very hungry.

He assured me that when my pistols were heard at the arrival, between 700
and 800 men rushed to arms, supposing there was an invasion of their
foes, the Tokan and Jerrar, or perhaps an assault by the Pasha's regulars
from Jerusalem, under the pretext of cholera quarantine--in either case
they got themselves ready.

He stayed long, and then went to chat with my Arab secretary in his tent,
leaving me to eat my supper.  He gave orders for a strong guard to be
about us for the night, and a party to guide us in the morning on our way
to Carmel.

This personage (as he himself told me) had been the civil governor inside
of Acre during the English bombardment of 1840; and his brother had first
introduced the Egyptians into the country eleven years before that
termination of their government.

                                * * * * *

In 1852 I had arrived at 'Arabeh from Nabloos by a different route, and
turned from this place not seawards as now, but inland to Jeneen: whence
I again visited it on my return.  It seems worth while to give the
details of this route.

Starting from Nabloos at half-past ten we passed _Zuwatah_ close on our
right, and _Bait Uzan_ high up on the left.  Here the aqueduct conveying
water from the springs under Gerizim to gardens far westwards, was close
to the high-road.  Arriving at _Sebustieh_ and going on to _Burka_ we
quitted the Jeba' road, and turned to _Seeleh_ which lay on our left, and
_Fendecomia_ high up on the right, _Jeba'_ being in sight.

Soon after this we turned sharply north-west to _'Ajjeh_, and thence
arrived at 'Arabeh in five and a half hours from Nabloos.

After leaving 'Arabeh for Jeneen we got upon a fine plain, namely, that
of Dothan.  On this, near to another road leading to Kabatiyeh, is a
beautiful low hill, upon which stands Dothan, the only building left to
represent the ancient name being a cow-shed; however, at the foot of the
hill is a space of bright green sward, whence issues a plentiful stream
of sparkling water, and here among some trees is a rude stone building.
This spot is now called _Hafeereh_, but the whole site was anciently
Dothan, this name having been given me by one peasant, and Dotan by

On my return hither a few days later I found a large herd of cattle, and
many asses going to drink at the spring.  Dothan is well known to
shepherds now as a place of resort, and must have been so in ancient
times.  Here then, in the very best part of the fertile country of
Ephraim, is the pasture-ground to which Joseph's brethren had removed
their flocks from the paternal estate at Shechem, and where they sold
their brother to the Arab traders on their way to Egypt.  This may help
to mark the season of the year at which Joseph was bought and sold.  It
could only be at the end of the summer that the brethren would need to
remove their flocks from exhausted pasture-ground at Shechem to the
perennial spring and green watered land at Dothan; this would also be
naturally the season for the Ishmaelite caravan to carry produce into
Egypt after the harvest was ended.  Be it remembered that the articles
they were conveying were produce from the district of Gilead--("balm of
Gilead" is mentioned later in Scripture)--and it is specially interesting
to notice that Jacob's present, sent by his brethren to the unknown ruler
in Egypt, consisted of these same best fruits, "Take of the best fruits
of the land, balm, honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds."

Dothan is about half an hour distant from 'Arabeh, and therefore six
hours or a morning's walk for a peasant from Shechem.

More solemn, however, than the above interesting recollection, was that
of the horses and chariots of fire which had encircled the very hill upon
which I stood, when Elisha "the man of God," lived in Dothan, and smote
the Syrian army at the foot with blindness, and led them away to
Sebustieh, (Samaria,) 2 Kings vi.

After leaving Dothan, at the falling in of this road to Jeneen with that
from Kabatieh, stands a broken tower on an eminence above the well
_Belameh_, which Dr Schultz has identified with the Belmen, Belmaim, and
Balamo of the Book of Judith, (chap. iv. 4; vii. 3; viii. 3.)

                                * * * * *

To resume--Away early in the morning.  Paid the night-guard and sent a
present of white loaf bread and some tea to the Bek.

It was promised that we should reach Carmel in nine hours, across an
unknown but pretty country in a different direction from Lejjoon and
Ta'annuk (Taanach of Judges i. 27,) which I had designed for my route,
and towards the sea-coast.

Our guides were gigantic men, beside whom my tall peasant servant Khaleel
appeared to disadvantage, and their guns were of a superior description
to what one commonly sees in Palestine.  The peasantry also were large
men with good guns.

First, due west for quarter of an hour towards _Kubrus_, situated upon a
hill, but before reaching it, turned sharply northwards, through a rocky
defile of ten minutes, when we fell in with a better road which, they
said, came also from 'Arabeh, and on towards a fine village named
_Yaabad_ in a lovely plain richly cultivated; there were after the
earlier crops young plantations of cotton rising, the fields cleared of
stones and fenced in by the most regular and orderly of stone dykes.

Before reaching _Yaabad_, we turned due west, our guides alone being able
to judge which of the many footpaths could be the right one.

Reached the poor village _Zebdeh_, then over a green hill with a prospect
of the sea.  Caesarea visible at a distance, and in the middle distance
_Jit_ and _Zeita_.  Near us were ruins of a strong place called _Burtaa_,
said to have a supply of delicious water.  Our journey was all over short
evergreens rising from stony ground.  So lonely--none in sight but
ourselves for hours after hours.  "Green is the portion of Paradise"
exclaimed our people.

At _Cuf'r Kara_, a clean mud village in the fragments of columns lying
about, we rested beneath some huge fig-trees while the luggage, guarded
by some of the escort, jogged forwards; for muleteers never like resting
their animals, or at least do not like unpacking them before the end of
the day's march; the trouble is too great in reloading them.  The riding
horses were tied up under the trees, and we got some melons and eggs from
the village.

After an hour we remounted and went on steadily north-west.  Soon reached
_Kaneer_, where was a cistern with wide circular opening of large
masonry, bespeaking high antiquity.

Then to _Subariyeh_ on a small rise from a hollow with one palm-tree.
The well was at a distance from the village, and the women washing there.
One man asked one of them to move away while he filled our matara
(leathern bottle.)  She said she would not even for Ibrahim Pasha,
whereupon he roared out, "One sees that the world is changed, for if you
had spoken in that manner to one of Ibrahim's meanest of grooms, he would
have burned down your town for you."  The matara was then filled.

In another quarter of an hour we were pacing through a wide Riding (as we
use the term in the old English Forests for a broad avenue between
woods.)  This opened into a plain of rich park scenery, with timbered low
hills all about, only of course no grass: in the centre of this stands
_Zumareen_, perched on a bold piece of rock.  Many of the trees were
entirely unknown to us Southerners; some of the evergreens were named to
us as Maloch, etc., and there were bushes of Saris with red berries.

Out of this we emerged upon the plain of the sea-coast, at a wretched
village bearing the attractive name of _Furadees_ (Paradise.)  Here the
people were sifting their corn after its thrashing, and we got a boy to
refresh us with milk from his flock of goats.  Only those experiencing
similar circumstances of hot travelling, can conceive the pleasure of
this draught, especially after having had to gallop round the boy, and
coax and threaten him to sell the milk for our money.

The way lay due north, hugging to the hills parallel to the sea, but at a
distance from it: numerous wadis run inland, and at the mouth of each is
a village.  The first was _Suameh_, the next _'Ain el Ghazal_, (Gazelles
fountain,) wretched like the rest, but in a pretty situation--then
_Modzha_, and _Mazaal_, and _'Ain Hhood_, (a prosperous looking place,)
and _Teeri_.

The sun set in the blue water, and we were still far from Carmel--our
animals could scarcely move: sometimes we dismounted and led them--passed
the notable ruins of Tantoorah, (Dora of the Bible,) and Athleet on our
left--moonlight and fatigue.  There was a nearer way from Zumareen, but
it would have been hilly and wearisome.  After a long while we overtook
our muleteers without the baggage, for the Kawwas Salim, they said, had
been so cruel to them that they had allowed him to go on with the charge
towards Carmel.

At length we climbed up the steep to the convent.  Being very late we
experienced great difficulty in gaining admission.  There was no food
allowed to the servants, no barley for the horses, and for a long time no
water supplied.

In the morning we found great changes had taken place since 1846.  The
kind president had gone on to India--the apothecary Fra Angelo was
removed to a distance--John-Baptist was at Caiffa and unwell.  The whole
place bore the appearance of gloom, bigotry, dirtiness, and bad

In the afternoon I left the convent, in order to enjoy a perfect Sabbath
on the morrow in tents at the foot of the hill, open to the sea breeze of
the north, and with a grand panorama stretched out before us.

And a blessed day that was.  We were all in need of bodily rest,
ourselves, the servants and the cattle--and it was enjoyed to the
full--my young friend and I derived blessing and refreshment also from
the word of God.  The words, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest," seemed to have a reviving
significance, as well as those of "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I
shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him,
shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Such a Sabbath in the Holy Land is true enjoyment.


                                                               _May_ 1851.

From Jeneen, (En-gannim, Josh. xxi. 29,) to Acre, _i.e._, towards the
north-west, and skirting the great plain under the line of the hills of
Samaria,--thus following the western coast of Zebulon to the south of

The road was enlivened by numerous companies of native people travelling
from village to village.

In an hour and a half from Jeneen we were at _Seeleh_, a cheerful and
prosperous-looking place; and in three-quarters of an hour more we were
abreast of both _Ta'annuk_ and _Salim_, at equal distances of quarter of
an hour from the highway; the former on our left hand, and the latter on
the right.  These places were at that time tolerably well peopled.

Here we gained the first view of Mount Tabor from a westerly direction,
and indeed it was curious all along this line to see in unusual aspects
the well-remembered sites that lie eastwards or northwards from Jeneen,
such as Zera'een (Jezreel,) Jilboon (Gilboa,) Solam (Shunem,) or Fooleh
and Afooleh.  In fact, we overlooked the tribe or inheritance of Zebulon
from Carmel to Tabor.

With respect to the circumstance of numerous passengers, whom we met this
morning, it was a pleasant exception to the common experience of that
district, where it is often as true now as in the days of Shamgar the son
of Anath (see Judges v. 6), that the population fluctuates according to
the invasions or retiring of tyrannical strangers.  That vast plain
affords a tempting camping-ground for remote Arabs to visit in huge
swarms coming from the East with their flocks for pasture; and in the
ancient times this very site between Ta'annuk and Lejjoon, being the
opening southwards, gave access to the Philistines or Egyptians arriving
in their chariots from the long plain of Sharon, or a passage over this
plain to that of the great hosts of Syria under the Ptolemies, with their

In all ages the poor peasantry here have been the victims of similar
incursions, "the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked
through byeways."  Yet though chased away from their homes, the
populations returned, whenever possible, with pertinacious attachment to
their devastated dwellings, and hence we have still the very names of the
towns and villages perpetuated by a resident people after a lapse of
almost thirty-three hundred years since the allotment made by Joshua,
(xiii.-xxi., etc.,) and the names were not then new.

I have myself known villages on the Plain of Esdraelon to be alternately
inhabited or abandoned.  At one time Fooleh was a heap of ruins, while
its neighbour Afooleh had its residents; on my next visit it was Fooleh
rebuilt, and the other a heap of overthrown stones, or next time both of
them lying in utter silence and desertion.  The same with _Mekebleh_,
sometimes inhabited, but more frequently a pile of broken-down houses,
with some remains of antique sculpture lying on the surface of its hill;
and the same occasionally, though not so frequent in vicissitude, with

From this exposure to invasion of royal armies or of nomad tribes,
("children of the East," Judges vi. 33,) it has always been the case that
no towns were built in the central parts of this plain; and even when the
kings of Israel had their country residence at Jezreel, that situation
was selected because it was nestled close to the hills, and had ravines
on two sides of it, serving as fortifying trenches made by nature.

At the present time there are no trees upon that broad expanse, not even
olives, to furnish lights for dwelling, either of villages or tents.  The
wretched people grow castor-oil plants instead for that purpose, sown
afresh every year, because these afford no temptation to the hostile

That year, however, of 1851, and probably for some time previous, the
plain (Merj ibn Amer is its Arabic name,) had been at peace, unmolested
by strangers; consequently I saw large crops of wheat there, and fields
of barley waving in the breeze.  These were mostly the property of a
Turkoman tribe, who, like the Kenites of old, reside there in tents,
neither building houses nor planting vineyards, though to some extent
they sow seed.  They have been long upon that ground, but move their
tents about, according to the exigencies of pasture for their flocks and
herds.  I believe, however, that they pay "khooweh" (brotherhood,) _i.e._
tribute and military aid, to the Sukoor Arabs for protection and peace
under common circumstances.

We had frequently to cross small streams issuing from the ranges of
hills, along the base of which our road lay; but they accomplished only
short courses, for they were soon absorbed into the ground or settled
into morasses, which emitted strong miasma under the influence of the
sun.  Some petty springs were seen rising from the ground itself, and
near each of these were sure to be met some relics of antiquity, such as
good squared building stones, or door-posts, or broken olive presses, or
fragments of sarcophagi, while the adjacent hills exhibited the hewn
lines in the form of steps, remaining from ancient quarrying.  The deep
alluvium of the plain furnishes no stone whatever for such purposes.

In forty minutes from Ta'annuk, we came to the small mills of _Lejjoon_,
(the Roman _Legio_, named from a military station there.)  At that time
of the year the body of water was not considerable, and there is no
village there.

In fifty minutes more we crossed a rivulet named _Menzel el Basha_, (the
Pasha's halting-place,) and in twenty minutes more, the _'Ain Kaimoon_
with abundance of water.  This is at the foot of a hill which has on its
summit the vestiges of the large ancient town _Kaimoon_.

This hill is long, narrow, and curved like a cucumber, lying at the
south-east end of Mount Carmel, and having the Kishon river on its outer
or north-eastern side.  Here, therefore, we come distinctly upon the
western geography of the Zebulon tribe.  In Joshua xix. 11, the border of
Zebulon is given as reaching "to the river that is before Jokneam."  I do
not doubt that this river is the Kishon, or that Jokneam is the "Jokneam
of Carmel," in chapter xii. 22, which was given to the Levites "out of
the tribe of Zebulon, Jokneam with her suburbs," (chap. xxi. 34.)  This
place, Kaimoon or Yokneam, must have been one of particular value in a
military point of view, commanding as it did the pass of the Kishon
valley on one side, and the _Wadi Mel'hh_ on the other.  Such a post
would be in good hands, when intrusted to the bold and warlike tribe of
Levi.  In the same way several other defensible posts were committed to
their charge all over the country. {230}

On my present journey I passed round the outer line of Tell Kaimoon,
having Kishon on the right.  In so doing we crossed various tributary
streams--the first one, in quarter of an hour from 'Ain Kaimoon, was in
_Wadi el Kasab_, (valley of reeds or canes)--the stream was bordered by
reeds and a profusion of tall oleander in gorgeous pink flower.

In this neighbourhood, the Turkomans had commenced reaping their grain.
They are a race of people not to be mistaken for Arabs, men of strong
build, and with a smiling expression on their clear, ruddy countenances.
Besides Arabic, they speak their own coarse dialect of Turkish--several
of them came running to us with handfuls of wheat from their harvest.
They possess large herds of oxen with good horses.

In another half hour we were at _'Ain el Sufsafeh_, (the "fountain of the
willow-tree,") where the water issues from a rock, and in its bed are two
willow-trees; upon the bank were plenty of blackberry bushes.

Just before this we had by the roadside a common looking Arab
burial-place, named _Shaikh Sad_; probably from some Mohammedan devotee
of that name interred there; and among the stones about the graves is a
fragment of an ancient cornice, deeply sculptured in the pattern here

[Picture: Fragment of Sculpture at Shaikh Sad]

In a quarter of an hour further we passed _Wadi Keereh_, with its full
stream of water, and plenty of oleander for adornment.

Thence in about half an hour we arrived at _Wadi Mel'hh_ ("Salt valley,")
with its rivulet and wild holly-oaks, in which is a great highway leading
southwards.  This separates the Samaria ridge and Kaimoon from the
extremity of the long Mount Carmel.

Having thus passed from one end to the other along the side of the hill
of Kaimoon, we turned aside from the road, for taking refreshment under a
large oak halfway up that hill, where wild holly-oaks were springing from
the ground to mingle with the sombre yet shining boughs of the tree.
This was at the sudden contraction of the country into a narrow neck
leading to the Plain of Acre.  This strait is bounded on one side by
Carmel, and on the other by the Galilean hills, both sides clothed with
abundance of growing timber; and through its midst is the channel of the
Kishon, deeply cut into soft alluvial soil, and this channel also is
bordered with oleander and trees that were enlivened with doves,
thrushes, linnets, and gold-finches.  The modern name of the river is the
_Mokatta_ (the ford,) and that of the valley _El Kasab_, derived from the
spring and valley before-mentioned.

At the narrowest part of this "Kasab" stands a hill, forming a serious
impediment to the progress of armies, named _Tell el Kasees_ (Hill of the
Priest,) which name may be a traditional remembrance of Elijah, slaying
the priests of Baal; but inasmuch as the word "Kasees" is in the singular
number, the appellation may be more likely derived from some hermit
residing there in a later age.  At any rate, this Tell lies immediately
below the site of that memorable sacrifice, and at the point where the
Kishon sweeps round to the foot of the mountain a path descends from the
"Mohhrakah," _i.e._, the place of the burnt-offering, to the river.  It
must therefore, have been the spot where the priests of Baal were slain,
whether the hill be named from the fact or not; and nothing can be more
exact than the words of the Bible in 1 Kings xviii. 40.

We were preparing to remount for continuing the journey when our guide
espied four wild-looking Arabs walking with long strides up the hill, so
as to pass behind and above us; they were well armed, and made no reply
to our challenge.  As our horses and the guide's spear would have
benefited us little on the steep hill-side, but on the contrary were
tempting prizes, and as our fire-arms were not so numerous as theirs, we
thought fit to pace away before they should obtain any further advantage
of situation over us.

In another quarter of an hour we left the straight road to Caiffa, and
struck out northwards, crossing the Kishon at a fort opposite a village
on a hill called _El Hharatheeyeh_, just before we should otherwise have
come to a low hill covered with a ripe crop of barley, which, from its
formation and other circumstances, bore the appearance of an ancient
fortified place.  This hill was named _'Asfi_, as I wrote it from
pronunciation.  This, with the _Hharatheeyeh_, one assisting the other,
would prove a good military defence at this end of the valley, as Kaimoon
and the Kasees were at the other.

Dr Thomson, in his "Land and the Book," chap. xxxi., considers this site
to be that of "Harosheth of the Gentiles," (Judges iv. 13,) and I have no
doubt that his supposition is correct; the topography agrees, and the
etymology in both Hebrew and Arabic is one, viz., "ploughed land."  This
author, however, makes no mention of _'Asfi_ though he speaks of "the
double Tell."

Whether 'Asfi was an aboriginal home of the people in the modern _Esfia_
on the summit of Carmel, I have no means of knowing; but that a
population, when emigrating to a new settlement, sometimes carried their
name with them, appears in Scripture in the instance of Luz, (Judges i.
26,) and of Dan in the 19th chapter.

Previous to this day's journey I had no adequate idea of the quantity of
water that could be poured into the Kishon channel by the affluents
above-mentioned, (since our passing the Lejjoon stream which runs in an
opposite direction,) namely, the Menzel el Basha, the 'Ain Sufsafeh, Wadi
Keereh, and Wadi Mel'hh, all these on the Carmel side of the river, and
omitting the more important spring called _Sa'adeh_, near _Beled esh
Shaikh_, on the way to Caiffa.

Still portions of the channel are liable to be dried up in that
direction, although the bed extending to Jeneen if not to Gilboa contains
springs from the ground at intervals, but the level character of the
country and the softness of the ground are unfavourable to the existence
of a free river course.  There was but little water at Hharatheeyeh when
we crossed in the month of May.  The 'Ain Sa'adeh, however, which I did
not then visit, never fails, and in full season, the Kishon near the sea
becomes a formidable river, as I have more than once found.

To return to the valley "El Kasab," we were assured that in winter time
the whole breadth is sometimes inundated, and even after this has
subsided, the alluvial soil is dangerous for attempting to travel in, it
becomes a bog for animals of burden.  Thus it is quite conceivable that
at the occurrence of a mighty storm, divinely and specially commissioned
to destroy, the host of Sisera and his chariots would be irretrievably

Where the scene opened upon the plain of Acre there was extensive
cultivation visible, and the town of Caiffa appeared with the grove of
palm-trees in its vicinity.

The view hence of the Caiffa bay reminds us of the prophetic blessing
pronounced by the patriarch Jacob.  "Zebulon shall dwell at the _haven_
of the sea, and he shall be for a haven of ships."  I am convinced that
this Hebrew root [Hebrew text] (English _haven_ and the German _hafen_)
is perpetuated not only in those words but in the modern appellation,
Caiffa, or as it may be more properly written _Hhaifa_.  The Arabic
letter [Arabic letter] is the real equivalent for [Hebrew letter] in
Hebrew; by grammatical permutation the letter [Hebrew letter] rightly
becomes [Arabic letter] in Arabic, and this we have

                          [Picture: Arabic word]

Hhaifa which Europeans turn into Caiffa.

We then reached a low natural mound on which are ruined walls of great
thickness, the levelled surface on the summit had been probably all
occupied by one castle with its outworks, but we saw it yellow with a
ripe crop of barley.  This place is _Hurbaj_, and the neighbourhood
abounds with destroyed villages, the natural consequence of being so near
to Acre, and being the _paloestra_ or wrestling ground of great nations
in successive ages.

We arrived at Acre in exactly twelve hours from Jeneen, and pitched the
tents outside upon a bank between two trenches of the fortification,
commanding extensive views in every direction, and were fanned by sea
breezes from the bay.

In conclusion, I may observe that the plain called by the Greeks
_Esdraelon_, as a corruption of Jezreel, is that named "Megiddo" in Old
Testament Scripture.  In the New Testament it bears the prefix of the
Hebrew word _Har_ (mountain) minus the aspirate, being written in Greek,
and so becomes "Armageddon" in the book of Revelation.

For topographical reasons it is very likely that the city of Megiddo was
at Lejjoon.  There is a village of _Mujaidel_ on the north side of the
plain, not far from Nazareth, but this is a diminutive of the Arabic
_Mejdal_, so common in Palestine as a variation from the Hebrew Migdol.

                                * * * * *

Besides the above journey I made an excursion in 1859 on the summit of
Carmel itself.

Leaving the Convent, which is at the western termination of the mountain,
we proceeded along the top of its main ridge to the opposite extremity,
the _Mohhrakah_, undoubtedly the locality of Elijah's miraculous
sacrifice in presence of King Ahab with the priests of Baal and of the
groves; thence we returned to encamp for a time at the cleanly Druse
village of _'Esfia_; after which a few hours' ride westwards led us by
the village of _Daliet el Carmel_, {238} also inhabited by Druses, to the
romantic _'Ain ez Zera'ah_ and over the sites of ruined places,
_Doomeen_, _Shelaleh_, and _Lubieh_, where the hewn stones lying
scattered over the ground were indications of much better buildings than
those of modern villages.

Then down the long and wearisome descent to _Teeri_ on the sea-coast
south of Caiffa.

For topographical purposes chiefly, let me give an outline of a few other
journeys made about the same neighbourhood.


                                                             _Sept._ 1846.

Going in the direction of the sea, that is, from Naphtali downwards into
Zebulon, we crossed westwards the _Jebel Rama_, a long hilly range ending
in the south at Rama, and richly wooded, but to our surprise there were
numerous fires left by the people to consume trees and large shrubs at
discretion, for the making of charcoal.  Fortunately for us there was no
wind blowing, but several times as the fiery ashes had been drifted upon
the road, our horses had no choice but to step into them.  On that
eminence I picked up specimens of Geodes which abound there, being lumps
resembling fruits outside, but when broken found to be a crust of bright
spar, and hollow in the centre; some of these were remarkably large.  The
hills were fragrant with wild herbs, and the views from them delightful.

After _Semwan_ we strayed from the right road and got to _Shemuata_,
where we procured a guide to conduct us in the direction of Carmel; he
undertook to conduct us as far as _Abu 'Atabeh_, from which Carmel would
be visible, and the distance equal either to Acre or to Caiffa.  From the
heights we descended to _Ekwikat_, and there found ourselves too tired to
get further that night.

In the morning we passed the _Bahhjah_, which had been the luxurious
summer residence of Abdallah Pasha, but was in a ruinous condition, and
came to _Abu 'Atabeh_, which is not a village but a collection of a few
houses, perhaps formerly some outlying dwellings belonging to the
Bahhjah.  Here was a fountain, and a small aqueduct for conveying water
to gardens.

Crossed the _Naaman_ river, anciently named the _Belus_, on the banks of
which, according to Pliny, the primitive idea of glass-making was
discovered by accident.  Along the beach we came to the Mokatta' or
Kishon, found it deep for fording, but got over to Caiffa, and mounted to
the Convent of Carmel.


                                                              _Oct._ 1849.

Passing _Sefoorieh_, (the Sepphoris so often mentioned in Josephus) with
a distant view of Carmel on the left, like a huge rampart of dark blue,
we came to the ruined Khan with a fountain called the _'Ain el
Bedaweeyeh_, then through delightful wooded glades, on issuing from which
we saw _Shefa 'Amer_, a handsome-looking place, with which I made better
acquaintance in after years.

On the plain of Acre I picked up a cannon ball, probably a twelve

(This journey was repeated in March 1852, and in March 1859.)


                                                             _March_ 1850.

From _Hhatteen_ to _'Eilaboon_, a quiet and pretty village, after which
we had a long stretch of "merrie greenwood" with furze in golden blossom,
birds singing, and the clucking of partridges.  At one place where the
old trees echoed the shouts of country children at their sports, there
rose above the summits a bold round tower, which on nearer approach we
found to be an outwork of the fortification of a venerable convent called
_Dair Hhanna_, which in comparatively recent times had been converted
into a castle, but convent, castle, and tower are now become a
picturesque ruin.

Near this we saw squatted on the ground a family of three generations,
almost entirely naked; they had a fire lighted, and the women were
washing clothes in the water heated by it, a great rarity in Palestine,
for they usually wash with cold water at the spring.  Some Metawaleh
peasants ran away from our party when we wished to make some inquiries of

From an eminence we saw before us a flat plain inundated like a lake,
left by the wintry floods.  This occurs there yearly around the
flourishing village of _'Arabet el Battoof_, at which we soon arrived,
after which we galloped for miles over green pastures of grass
interspersed by trees.

In three quarters of an hour further we came to _Sukhneen_, a large
village with good cultivation extending far around.  Still traversing
green undulations with wooded hills to the right and left, in another
hour we were at a small place called _Neab_, where the scenery suddenly
changed for stony hills and valleys.  In a little short of another hour
we saw _Damooneh_ at half an hour's distance to the left.  In twenty
minutes more we stopped to drink at the well _Berweh_, then pressed
forward in haste to arrive at Acre before the gates (being a
fortification) should be closed.  We got there in fifty minutes' hard
riding from _'Ain Berweh_.



                                                             _March_ 1850.

Crossed the river Naaman, and paced slowly over the extensive marshes,
making for _Shefa 'Amer_.

Among these marshes was a herd of about two hundred horses at free
pasture upon the grass, weeds, and rushes, so succulent at that season of
the year; these were on their way from Northern Syria, and were intended
for sale.

Also among the marshes was a temporary village of tabernacles or huts
made of plaited palm-leaves, and papyrus canes or reeds, such as one sees
on the line of the Jordan or about the lake Hhooleh, with the same class
of proprietors in both cases, the Ghawarineh Arabs.  Strange that this
race of human beings should prefer to inhabit feverish marshes.

We came upon a paved causeway (called the _Resheef_) leading from a large
mill towards the sea, but only the portion nearest to the mill now
remains entire.  Probably this was turned to some account during the
French military operations against Acre in 1799.

At Shefa 'Amer we had _'Ebeleen_ in sight.  Both places are conspicuous
over the district around.  At some distance from the town is a large well
for its supply, and along the broad road between the well and the town,
the Druse women are constantly passing with their horns over the forehead
and their jars on the shoulders.

Shefa 'Amer is crowned by the remains of the Palace Castle erected by
Shaikh Daher, (celebrated in Volney's "Syria,") and the shell of a large
old Christian church; near these are some very ancient wells cut into
solid rock, but now containing no water.

The majority of the inhabitants are Druses.  There are a few Moslems and
a few Christians; but at that time there were thirty Jewish families
living as agriculturists, cultivating grain and olives on their own
landed property, most of it family inheritance; some of these people were
of Algerine descent.  They had their own synagogue and legally qualified
butcher, and their numbers had formerly been more considerable. {243}

I felt an especial interest in these people, as well as in the knowledge
of a similar community existing at a small village not far distant named

Upon the road that day, and in half an hour from the town, I met a couple
of rosy-faced, strong peasant men, with sparkling Jewish eyes, who set to
speaking Hebrew with some Rabbis in my company.  It was in a scene of
woodland and cornfields under the blue canopy of heaven; their costume
was that of the ordinary Metawaleh peasantry, _i.e._, a scarlet and
embroidered short coat with large dark blue trousers.  I shall never
forget this circumstance, of finding men of Israel, fresh from
agricultural labour, conversing in Hebrew in their own land.

Our road then led through glades of exceeding beauty: an English park
backed by mountains in a Syrian climate.  The gently undulating land was
clothed with rich grass, and sprinkled (not thronged) with timber,
chiefly terebinth.  Linnets and thrushes were warbling among the trees.

_Cuf'r Menda_ was on our left; _Sefoorieh_ at a distance on the right;
_Rumaneh_ and _'Azair_ before us.  Then we entered upon the long plain of
_'Arabet el Battoof_, and rested a short time before sunset at _'Ain
Bedaweeyeh_ for refreshment.  Carpets were spread upon long grass which
sank under the pressure.  The horses and mules were set free to pasture,
and we formed ourselves into separate eating groups; one Christian, one
Jewish, and one Moslem.  Some storks were likewise feeding in a
neighbouring bean-field, the fragrance of which was delicious, as wafted
to us by the evening breeze.

On remounting for the road to Tiberias, several hours beyond, we put on
cloaks to keep off the falling dew, and paced on by a beautiful
moonlight, at first dimmed by mist or dew, which afterwards disappeared;
the spear carried by one of the party glimmered as we went on; and the
Jews whiled away the time by recitation of their evening prayers on
horseback, and conversing in the Hebrew language about their warrior
forefathers of Galilee.


                                                              _July_ 1854.

Passing through the rush of _'Ain Saadeh_ water as it tumbles from the
rocky base of Carmel, and by the _Beled esh Shaikh_ and _Yajoor_, we
crossed the Kishon bed to take a road new to me, namely, by _Damooneh_,
leaving _Mujaidel_ and _Yafah_ visible on our right, upon the crests of
hills overlooking the Plain of Esdraelon.  We passed through a good deal
of greenwood scenery, so refreshing in the month of July, but on the
whole not equal in beauty to the road by Shefa 'Amer.


                                                             _Sept._ 1857.

By _Beled esh Shaikh_ and _Yajoor_, where threshing of the harvest was in
progress in the Galilean fashion by means of the _moraj_, (in Hebrew the
_morag_, Isa. xli.  15 and 2 Sam. xxiv. 22,) which is a stout board of
wood, with iron teeth or flints on the under surface.  The plank turns
upward in front, and the man or boy stands upon it in exactly the
attitude of a Grecian charioteer: one foot advanced; the head and chest
well thrown back; the reins in his left hand, and with a long thonged
whip, he drives the horses that are attached to it at a rapid pace in a
circle, shouting merrily or singing as they go,--a totally different
operation from the drowsy creeping of the oxen or other animals for
threshing in our Southern Palestine.

In due time we crossed the bed of the Kishon, which was quite dry in that
part above the _Sa'adeh_, except where some green stagnant puddles
occurred at intervals.

We passed a herd of camels belonging to the Turkomans, walking
unburdened, whereas all other animals that we met were laden with grain
for the port of Caiffa.  At the commencement of the ascent on the
opposite hills we rested under the _Tell el Hharatheeyeh_, beneath a
noble tree of the evergreen oak; and near there we passed alongside of a
camp of degraded Arabs called _Beramki_, in a few tattered tents, but
they had some capital horses picketed around them.  The villagers regard
these people with ineffable disdain, as "cousins of the gipsies."  It
seems that they subsist by singing songs among real Arab camps, and by
letting out their horses as stallions for breeding, with variations of
picking and stealing.  We saw some of their women and children, filthy in
person, painfully employed in scraping away the ground wherever black
clay showed itself, in the hope of reaching water, however bad in

There was threshing at _Jaida_ as we passed that village.  We halted at
the spring of _Samooniah_, and at _Ma'alool_; the priest of the village
was superintending the parish threshing: his reverence was covered with
dust from the operation.


                                                              _June_ 1859.

From _Beled esh Shaikh_ and _Yajoor_, across the Kishon channel, upon the
plain of Acre, and rested a short time at the _Weli of Jedro_, (very like
a Hebrew name,) and then near us, all close together were the three
villages of _Cuf'r Ita_, _Ja'arah_ and _Hurbaj_.  Thence to Shefa 'Amer,
first diverging somewhat to _'Ebeleen_.



                                                              _Oct._ 1849.

At _Baka_ we leave the plain of Sharon, at its northern end, if indeed
the extensive level from the Egyptian desert up to this point, may come
under this one denomination; and we enter upon the hilly woodlands of
Ephraim and Manasseh, so clearly described in Joshua xvii. 11, 17, 18.

In mounting to the higher ground, there is obtained a fine view of the
sea, and the oak and karoobah trees were larger as we advanced; from
certain stations we obtained a totally unexpected prospect of a stretch
of large forest scenery below us, extending towards _Sindianeh_ in the

At one spot we passed among scattered stones of excellent masonry, large
and rabbeted at the edges, lying confusedly about, enough for a small
town, but evidently belonging to a period of ancient date; a few mud huts
were adjoining these.

Thence we descended into a long valley, several miles in extent, called
_Wadi 'Arah_, fully occupied with cotton crops, and stubble of the last
harvest of grain.  The valley was bounded on either side by well timbered
hills, and its direction was N.E. by E.

After an hour in this long enclosure, the pleasing features of the scene
became less defined in character, and, uncertain of our way, we climbed
up to a village called _'Ararah_, where, after an hour's trouble, we got
a guide at high price for the rest of the day's journey.  The evening was
then advancing, and the gnats from the trees and shrubs plagued the
horses.  Among these trees were grand old oaks of a kind that bear
gigantic acorns with mossy cups.  At length the verdure ceased, and we
had only stony hills.  There was, however, a weli with a spring of water,
and fruit trees by the roadside, crowded with a shoal of singing birds
all rustling and chirping at once among the boughs as the sun was
setting, and throwing a glorious red over the clouds which had been
gradually collecting during the afternoon.

We left the village of _Umm el Fahh'm_, ("Mother of Charcoal"--a name
significant of a woodland district) upon the right, and night closed in;
our old guide on his little donkey singing cheerily in front, till
darkness reduced us all to silence.

We crossed the small rivulet at _Lejjoon_ by starlight; and the rest of
the journey in the night was not only monotonous, but even dangerous,
over marshes and chinks in the Plain of Esdraelon.  Our course was in a
direction N.E. to Nazareth, which we reached in sixteen hours from the
morning's starting at _Cuf'r Saba_.

There were fortunately no roaming Arabs to molest us in this night
passage across the _Merj ibn 'Amer_.


                                                              _June_ 1859.

As before, we left the northern extremity of the plain of Sharon, but
this time at the eastern and minor village of _Baka_, and thus we missed
the ruined town before noticed, but got into the same valley of _'Arah_;
and in the great heat of summer, confined between the two ridges of
hills, we crept on to the extremity of the valley, and mounted a hill to
the village of _Mushmusheh_, opposite to _Umm el Fahh'm_.  All the
villages in that region are situated on hills, and are of no easy access.

This place enjoys abundance of water springing out of the ground, and at
any risk so precious a treasure ought not to be lost; therefore, although
the houses were abandoned and the people scattered, they come there
stealthily, and as opportunity arises, to do the little service to the
ground that it required, and watch its oranges, lemons, and pomegranates,
(from the name it would seem that formerly this place was famous for
apricots.)  As we halted and pitched tents there, one by one some of the
people came about us, although they had been preparing to leave for the
night, in order to sleep at "Charcoal's Mother," (the village opposite.)
They stayed under our protection, and got for us certain supplies from
over the way.

Close beside us was a gigantic mulberry tree, around which two very large
vines climbed to a great height, and a channel of running water almost
surrounded the roots.

I never heard such sweet-toned bells as the flocks about there carried,
and which gave out their music near and far at every movement of the
goats and sheep.

In the morning we left this very pleasant spot and went on to _Lejjoon_;
crossed the Sufsafeh and the other streams with their oleander borders,
and enjoyed the magnificent prospects of Hermon, Tabor, and the plain;
rested on the hill of _Kaimoon_ under the fine oak-tree of former
acquaintance, and at length arrived in Caiffa.


                                                             _April_ 1859.

The usual way by _'Ain Sa'adeh_, _Beled esh Shaikh_ and _Yajoor_; the
woody sides of Carmel diversified in colour at this season of spring;
there was the dark green of the bellota oak, the yellow of the abundant
broom, the dark red-brown of the sprouting terebinth and the pale green
of young-leafed trees of many other kinds.  There was, moreover, the
fragrance of an occasional pine, and of the hawthorn, (Za'aroor,) which
is of stronger scent than in England; and the ground was sprinkled with
purple and yellow crocuses; also with anemones of every shade of purple
and white, besides the scarlet, which alone are found in Judaea, but
there in profusion.

Turning off from the road to Jeneen, I rose upon high ground, and came to
_Umm ez Zeenat_, (mother of beauties.)  Our people were of opinion that
this name did not apply so much to the daughters of the village as to the
landscape scenery, for near it we commanded an extensive prospect,
including Hermon with its snows one way, and the "great and wide sea" in
the opposite quarter.

We lost our way for a time, leaving _Rehhaneeyeh_ on our left, and
straying as far as _Daliet er Rohha_; on recovering the right road we
arrived at _Cuferain_, (the "double village") and to _Umm el Fahh'm_,
marching among silent woods often tangled by neglected growth, and
abounding in a variety of unknown trees, besides the Seringa and the oaks
with much broader leaves than are ever seen in the south; also, for a
long period we had frequent recurring views of snowy Hermon in the N.E.

The considerable village of _'Aneen_ we found almost entirely broken up,
by the recent warfare between the partisans of Tokan and 'Abdu'l Hadi.
At length our repeated calls and promises echoing among the apparently
forsaken houses, brought out an old man, and he promised to procure a
guide to take us within sight of _'Arabeh_, after which several women
peered out of their miserable dwellings.

The guide conducted us through large woods on heights and in depths,
among fragrant herbs and blossoming trees growing wild, till some time
after sunset, when we stopped for the night at a poor village called
_Harakat_; we were all tired, but especially the two women of a Christian
party going to Jerusalem, who had attached themselves to us all the day
for the benefit of our protection.

The ground on which the tent was set up was wet, as there had been some
rain at the place that day, and springs of water were running to waste
near us; the village people served as guards around us, on being fed at
our expense; the pilgrims spread their beds in one direction outside the
tent, and the kawwases in the opposite.

By the light of a brilliant morning we marched forwards to _'Arabeh_,
which was being besieged by the Turkish government, in force of infantry,
cavalry, and artillery.


This is the mountainous district lying east and south of Tyre, probably
the "Galilee of the Gentiles;" bounded on the north by the river
_Kasimiyeh_, the ancient Leontes; on the west by the plain of Tyre; on
the east by the plain of Hhooleh and of the Upper Jordan; on the south by
hills around Safed: the district is very little known to Europeans, and
was much less so in 1848.

In that year I entered it from the North, after traversing the Sidon
country, crossing the pleasant river with its rose-coloured border of
oleander and wild holly-oak at a ford wider than the average breadth of
the Jordan.

There we found abundance of noble trees, and some cottages near them, the
vines belonging to which climbed up those trees to a surprising height;
and the thickness of the vines exceeded any that I had any where or at
any time seen.

In front was the village of _Boorj_, and we mounted into a high
table-land commanding prospects of indescribable grandeur, which
comprised parts of both Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, the extreme heights of
Sannin and Hermon being visible at once.

The day was one of hot shirocco, and there were fires of lime-kilns
visible in several directions, this season (late in autumn) being that
appropriated to such employment, after all the harvests are gathered in.

There were innumerable villages appearing in every direction.  We passed
_Abasiyeh_ on our right; _Dar Meemas_ and _Izereiriyeh_ distant on the
left; _Tura_ on the right; _Dar Kanoon_ we almost entered; _Bidias_ near
us on the left; _Dair Thecla_ on our right; _Bursheen_ on the right;
_Durtghayer_ on the left; _Arzoon_ further on the left; then we rested
under some olive trees, with _Dar esh Shems_ on the right; _Mezra'a_ on
the left; _Dar Zibneh_ with a castle on our right.

In the distance appeared the mighty old castle of _Shukeef_ (_Belfort_ of
the Crusaders) upon an eminence, with Jebel esh Shaikh, or Hermon, rising
majestically behind it.

As we descended into a deep glen between verdant hills, the partridges
were clucking in multitudes, and so unaccustomed to intrusion, that
sometimes they came running up towards us; magpies were flying about, and
we were told that the glen abounds in wild beasts, which there seemed no
reason to doubt.  For hours we wound round and round within this cool and
refreshing labyrinth of arbutus, bellota or evergreen oak, aspen,
clematis, broom, and what looked like the sloe, besides other and unknown
vegetation.  The bellota was often respectable-sized timber in girth,
though of no considerable height; sometimes our path was overshadowed by
their branches stretching across, and we had to stoop beneath them.  On
the sides of the hills were many fires of the charcoal burners.

As evening came on, we could see our lofty green prison walls tipped with
the setting sun.

At length the glen seemed to be terminated by a fine round hill, crowned
with a village standing across the passage.  The appearance improved as
we drew nearer; inhabitants were not few; large flocks and herds were
winding by several ways towards it.  The people named it _Khirbet
Sellim_, (Sellim in ruin) but how could all this cheerful scene belong to
a ruin?

The sun set and we had another hour of the lovely glen to thread by
starlight.  At last we emerged by a gently inclined plain, which
gradually became rougher, and we mounted the steep hill on which
_Tibneen_ is built.  There we determined to halt for the night, as our
cattle were unable to hold on to _Bint el Jebail_.

We pitched on the threshing floor between the village and the castle.

This castle is the citadel of all the Belad Besharah, from the Leontes to
Safed, and Ahhmad Bek, its owner, is called by his people "the Shaikh of
Shaikhs;" by the Turkish government he is recognised as Kaimakam of the

The people were of ill behaviour, and talked about quarantine, but the
population of the district are at all times a churlish race, being of the
Sheah or 'Ali sect of Moslems; they curse and loathe our Mohammedans, and
oppress the sparse families of Christians within their reach.  They are
called the Mutawaleh.

At first they refused to let us have anything, till the governor, on
ascertaining who we were, sent us down some lemonade; still we got but
few articles of food, and our horses were left without water.

My kawwas Salim was then taken ill from the effect of having slept the
preceding night with his head uncovered, and with reluctance our own
people put up the small tent that travelled with us, on purpose for them;
they always prefer sleeping in open air, only covering the head well with
the cloak.

This was Saturday night, and we had not an agreeable prospect for a
Sabbath rest on the morrow.

The wind was strong all night on that lofty situation, but there was no

In the morning, the people would not supply us with milk, even for the
horses, and so it was impossible to stay there; we marched on towards
Bint el Jebail, about three hours' distant, a considerable place, which
often contests with Tibneen for supremacy in the local government, and
where the governor is a distant relative of him at Tibneen.

From the tents, before starting, we could see the following villages in a
curved line from S.E. to N:--

    Haddata or Haita ez-Zoot.
    Bait U'oon.

And they told us of _El Yehudiyeh_ on the N.W. behind the castle.  The
Mediterranean in sight [I became better acquainted with Tibneen, and on
better relations with the people in after years.]

Passed on through a pretty country, like all the Belad Besharah, with
numerous villages in sight; excellent beaten roads, and plenty of them;
with everywhere the magnificent objects in view of Mount Hermon, and part
of the Lebanon, but not always the Mediterranean.

Rested at half-way of our short journey under a large evergreen oak on
the summit of a rising ground, with a refreshing breeze blowing; thence
descended to a plain where there were about a dozen wells, and people
drawing water for large herds of neat cattle.  Here our horses got drink.

Arrived at _Bint el Jebail_, a nice-looking place, with a commanding
house for the governor, (Hhusain Suliman,) but the people were at first
even more inhospitable than those at Tibneen, for they drove away our man
Khaleel from the village fountain, and covered up their mouths and noses,
in fear of cholera.

On application to the Bek, we got permission to draw water for ourselves,
and he allowed us eggs and bread, with barley for the horses, and it was
with difficulty they accepted any money in return.

The Bek also invited me to visit him in his house, but stipulating not to
shake hands.

On coming near the Serai, (governor's house,) the ladies of the Hhareem
were looking out of the lattices upon the cavalcade.  A crowd of servants
were at the door to receive us, in attendance on one of his sons, who had
a large hunting-hawk upon his wrist; silver bells upon her legs.

We were shown into a large baronial-looking hall, and chairs were placed
for us upon the divan.

The great man sat in the right-hand corner, upon a panther skin, one of
the prey of the country, his brother at his right hand, and his sons
ranged on his left.  He wore a robe of the true Moslem apple-green, with
a Cashmere shawl round his waist, and another on his turban.  His
countenance and deportment were truly aristocratic; he and all his family
were handsome, with intelligent expression of countenance.

The son who had been outside came in, and put his hawk upon her perch,
then took his place.  They gave us sherbet, coffee, and abundant
compliments: we talked of hawking in England, and English ladies riding
to the sport.  London, and the Queen on the throne were discussed; also
Jerusalem, where the Bek had never been.  On the whole the reception was
satisfactory.  Pity that the people were afraid of cholera; they did not
exhibit the virtue of resignation to Divine predestination any more than
our Sooni-Moslems of the south had done.

Our tents were in a sunny situation, but still we had in them a rest for
Sunday afternoon.

At sunset the Bek sent me a present of grapes, those that were purple
were of large size.

Starlight night, but no dew; jackals were howling in troops, sometimes
very close to us.  An armed nominal quarantine was placed over us during
the night--ridiculous enough after a pretty free intercourse of the
people all day.

The morning very cool.  A poor Maronite priest from 'Ain Nebel came to me
in his black robes and dark blue turban, and, leaning on his staff, gave
a lamentable account of persecutions suffered by the four or five
Christian villages about there, and imploring English help on their
behalf.  Alas! nothing could be done for him, only the case of the
servant of the governor of Tibneen shooting a poor Christian, while on
compulsory work at the lime-kilns, got inquiry made into it at Bayroot.
On asking his name, and writing it down, the miserable man said to the
secretary, "Tell the consul that I have already written his name on my

Hitherto our journey had been entirely novel--there is no record
published of any traveller passing through that country, from the
Leontes, its northern boundary, before that date.  Going forwards, we
passed through pretty green lanes along the sides of hills.  From the
crest of a hill, whence the view was very extensive, we had _Yaroon_ on
the right, and beyond it the ruined convent of St George.  I afterwards
learned that the church there exhibits proof of great size and

By the roadside was a huge undecorated sarcophagus, in excellent
preservation, standing on a raised platform of masonry; single and alone
in a wide expanse, no village or remnant of human works near it.  The
masonry in front had been wilfully damaged, enough to make the
sarcophagus lean, but not to fall, and the ponderous cover was removed
from its place--total length, eight feet by five, and four in height, the
hollow cut out from the body left the thickness of a foot all round it.
No inscription gives any record of the doubtless important personage for
whom it was prepared, and no embellishments even provide a clue to the
period to which it belongs.  It stands well-preserved, great in its
simplicity and position.

Villages of _Farah_ and _Salchah_ on our left.

Thence we descended into a glen of blazing white stone, without any
verdure, in which were a diversity of paths, and a petty runlet of water
issuing from the ground, but soon showing only stagnant green pools and
mud, with frogs in abundance, then evaporated altogether.  Near this,
Salim was taken with vomiting and purging, and was hardly able to remain
on his horse; the dragoman also fainting and giddy, and the rest
frightened with the terrors of expected cholera.  Our guide wanted to
desert us and return home.

The muleteers and luggage had taken another road, but after a time we met
again.  Moving on, the ground became a gradual rise, and a stream coming
down it toward us, became clearer as we ascended, and fruit-trees were
rather numerous.

Under some fig-trees the kawwas laid himself down, and we stayed there
three hours with him; water was poured over his head to obviate fever,
and I administered some pills.

During the interval I found some sculptured stones with Hebrew
inscriptions, which I have elsewhere described, and took pains to
decipher the words, but without much result.  They were lying in a
ploughed field by the roadside.  We were now entering on classic ground
of the Talmudists, and upon a precipice above us, upon wide table-ground,
was the village of _Jish_, the Giscala of Josephus.

When evening brought coolness, we proceeded towards Safed.

A peasant passing us was carrying home his plough upon his shoulder,
except the iron share, which his little daughter, of two or three years
old, carried on her head.

Some of our horses were so stung by flies that the blood flowed to the
stones under their feet as they went along.

There were traces of ancient pavement along the road, and cavern holes in
chalk-rock sides.  Then traversing a few miles of dark volcanic stone we
neared a crater in the ground, whose gloomy aspect was fully in keeping
with the destruction which such a phenomenon bespeaks as having
occurred--silent as the death it produced, and void of all pleasurable
features, of wild flowers, or even the thorns of nature.

The whole vicinity bore traces of the earthquakes that have often
occurred there, especially that of 1837.

After this a glorious prospect burst upon us of Safed, "set upon a hill,"
and the gloomy hill of Jarmuk beside it.  Tabor also in view far in
advance, throwing a vast shadow of late afternoon-time over other hills,
and glimpses of the lake Tiberias.

Encamped on our former site among the great old olive-trees north of the
town.  Some Jewesses gleaning olives from the ground were frightened
away.  Visitors were out at once to welcome us in English, Arabic, and
Judisch, (Jewish-German.)  We were surrounded by fair and rosy
complexions of Jews, the effect of the pure bracing air of the mountain.

My sick people took to their beds, and only after a week's care (medical
such as we could get) were able to continue the journey, one remaining
behind to recover strength.  The complaint, however, had not been
cholera, it was rather what is denominated "Syrian fever."


Tibneen has been already mentioned as one of the two capital villages of
the Belad Besharah, and lying S.E. from Tyre.  We have now before us the
Galilean country that lies southwards between that place and Nazareth.

_July_ 1853.--After honourable entertainment and refreshing sleep in the
Castle of Tibneen, I awoke early to look out on the dark and broad mass
of Mount Hermon by starlight.

Coffee was served, and I was mounted on my "gallant gray," still by
twilight, parting with some friends who had been rambling with me for
three weeks over Phoenicia and the Lebanon.  I set my face in the
direction of Jerusalem.

We were guided by the Shaikh of _Rumaish_, a Christian village that lay
upon the road before us, he being furnished with a written mandate from
Hhamed el Bek, the ruler of Tibneen, to take four men of his place as our
escort through the forest.

In the outskirts of the forest belonging to the castle we found peasants
already proceeding to the threshing-floors; women in lines marching to
the wells with jars cleverly balanced upon their heads; and camels
kneeling on the ground munching their breakfast of cut straw, with most
serious and unchanging expression of countenance, only the large soft
eyes were pleasant to look at.

In half-an-hour we were at _Aita_.

This country is famous for the quality of its tobacco, a plant that is
most esteemed when grown among the ruined parts of villages, because the
nitre contained in the old cement of houses not only serves to quicken
the vegetation, but imparts to the article that sparkling effect which is
admired when lighted in the pipe.

Vines are also extensively cultivated, and the people take pleasure in
training them aloft upon the high trees, as oak, terebinth, poplar, etc.,
and allowing them to droop down in the graceful festoons of nature, which
also gives an agreeable variety of green colour among the timber trees.

We were entering the gay woodland and reaching the top of a hill, when
the sun rose at our left hand, and the glory of that moment surpassed all
common power of description.  Crowds of linnets and finches burst
suddenly into song; the crested larks "that tira-lira chant," {265} rose
into the merry blue sky, with the sunlight gleaming on their plump and
speckled breasts; the wood-pigeons, too, were not silent; but all, in
harmonious concert, did their best to praise the blessed Creator, who
delights in the happiness of His creatures.

Forwards we marched with light spirits, through dense woods, varied by
the occasional clearings, which are called "the rides" in old English
forests, and sometimes we drew near to snug villages, or got glimpses of
such, by the names of _Teereh_, _Hhaneen_, and _'Ain Nebel_; the latter
at two hours from Tibneen; the people there are Christian, and they
cultivate silk and tobacco.  In some places we observed ancient
sarcophagi, hewn into solid rock without being entirely detached, they
had therefore been left unfinished, though partly ornamented.

On a ground rising opposite to us I saw the screw of a large press,
standing out of the field; this I was told is used for extracting resin
from the red berries of terebinth trees for domestic lamp-lighting--a
circumstance which of itself bespeaks the prevalence of woodland round
about, and is a variation from the practice of that unhappy thin
population on the plain of Esdraelon, who are obliged to use castor-oil
for the same purpose, because the _palma Christi_ plants which produce
the oil are of less value to Bedaween marauders than olive-trees would
be, and damage done to them is of less importance than it would be among
the latter.

Arrived at _Rumaish_, the Shaikh rode up to his village while we awaited
him under the branches of an old oak overshadowing the road.  Rumaish is
a neat little place, but, like almost every village throughout Palestine,
oppressed by the heavy debts incurred with the forestallers of their
produce (generally Europeans) in the seaport towns.

Our friend returned with another horseman, and three men on foot, all
armed with guns, as our future way lay through a Druse neighbourhood.

These men for our escort were Maronite Christians, and they showered upon
me abundant salutations, expressing their satisfaction at the
circumstance of a Christian (myself) being treated with such
distinguished consideration in Tibneen Castle, and concluding with the
hope that I would visit them yearly, in order to give countenance to
poor, depressed Christianity.  The two priests of the village had desired
to come out and greet me, but their people had persuaded them that the
distance was too great for their walking in the sun--near mid-day in

Resting for a while before resuming the journey, the newcomers sat round
in a circle to smoke their fragrant local tobacco, and find some relief
to the mind in relating tales of suffering under persecution.  They said
they had more reason to be satisfied with the rule of my host, Hhamed el
Bek, than with that of Tamar Bek at Bint Jebail, which they described as
most cruel and capricious.  That I could easily believe after the
incident that came to my knowledge in that vicinity five years
before,--that of the wanton murder of a poor Christian, at the lime-kiln
works, by a servant of that governor.  I have already mentioned that it
was narrated to me by the village priest of 'Ain Nebel.  An inquiry was
instituted into the case by the authorities at Bayroot; but there must be
many such instances occurring that are never known by those who would or
could bring them to light and justice.

At length the signal was given for mounting.  The mules were collected
together, after straying about for such pasture as could be got, their
bells gently ringing all the time, and the pipes were stowed away: those
of the muleteers being placed down the backs of their jackets, with the
bowls uppermost, reaching to the men's necks.

We then plunged into the forest of _Tarsheehhah_, where the Shaikh of the
principal village, that which gives name to the district, is a fanatic
Moslem, who was then preaching religious revivals, and was said to
engraft upon his doctrine the pantheism of the Persian Soofis.  This was
not considered improbable, seeing that the Moslems of the Belad Besharah
are all of the Sheah sect, (here called _Metawala_,) out of which the
Soofi heresy is developed.  The new doctrines had spread rapidly in
various directions, and were professed by several of the Effendi class in
Jerusalem--the old story repeated of Sadducean principles obtaining among
the rich and the luxurious.  This Shaikh was described as excessively
intolerant of Christianity, and at that period, viz., the commencement of
the Russian war, was in the habit of travelling about with a train of
disciples, all carrying iron-shod staves in their hands, and
distinguished by having a portion of the muslin of the turban hanging
loosely behind, doing their utmost to excite tumult and hatred of the
Christians by shouting aloud the Mohammedan formula of belief, "There is
no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the Apostle of God," striking the
ground with their iron-shod staves by way of emphasis.

Among the evergreens, and the gall-oaks, and karoobah-trees, our path
often became very narrow--sometimes subsiding into sunless hollows, then
mounting afresh into a chequered brilliancy--but always passing between
woods of dark and glossy foliage.  At one place was a pretty spring of
water, where one of the party halted to drink while the rest proceeded.
On finding him fail to come up with us, a horseman and two footmen were
despatched in search.  Their shouts gave animation to the scene, but
gradually became fainter as the distance between us increased.

The whole of the day's journey hitherto was remarkable for absence of
human population.

Came to _Herfaish_, a Druse village, in the very heart of the forest, but
passed on, still toiling in the hot sunshine.  Occasionally the paths
were so rocky that we had to dismount and lead the horses.

It was evident from the deportment and conversation of our guides, that
whenever Christians (who in that neighbourhood are all Maronites) enter
that division of the forest where the Druses of Herfaish prevail they
find it necessary to travel in companies and armed.  Fortunately we
encountered none of the fanatics of Tarsheehhah.  The escort told me that
they themselves only became acquainted with these cross roads in the
direction of Nazareth by means of their journeys thither at the
ecclesiastical festivals of Easter, Christmas, etc.

At this hot season there were not many flowers to be noticed, beyond some
varieties of salvia, yellow broom, bright-coloured thistles, the pink
flax, blackberry blossoms, and one kind of heath, together with some
plants unknown to me.

The trees were not of large dimensions, but mostly evergreen and of slow
growth; many were very wide-spreading, and all dense enough to afford
good shelter from either sun or rain.

After six hours and a half of uninterrupted forest we arrived at a small
trickling spring called _'Ain Noom_, when large trees began to give place
to shrubs and underwood, and human inhabitants again cheered the sight,
they bringing cattle to the water for drinking.

At _Bait Jan_ we were overtaken by the missing member of our party.  At
this place there is considerable vine cultivation.  Very soon afterwards
we were suddenly upon the brow of a deep descent--sheer steep down to the
plain of _Battoof_, and the prospect from that spot was amazing, not only
beyond expectation, for we had not expected any remarkable scene to come
in our way, but beyond all previous experience.

The whole of Lower Galilee, Samaria, and Gilead, was laid like a map at
our feet; and from so great an elevation the Mediterranean and the Sea of
Galilee were brought close together.  Among the most conspicuous
geographical points were Tabor, a very small object beneath; then the
line of Carmel; and Ebal in Samaria; there was Hhatteen, the last
battle-field of the Crusaders; King Baldwin's castle of Cocab; the
entrance of the Jordan into the lake, and both the supposed sites of
Capernaum; also Acre with her blue bay, and a small amount of shipping
off Caiffa.  Pity that I had no aneroid barometer for ascertaining the
elevation of that site.

The map-like appearance of the wide panorama suggested to memory the song
of Deborah the prophetess, with her recapitulation of the succours
furnished or omitted by the several tribes of Israel at the battle of the
Kishon and Harosheth of the Gentiles.  From such a site she would turn to
the left hand for expostulation with Reuben, and to the right for
rebuking Dan and Asher upon the sea-coast, after that the Lord had
defeated the national foe without them, and sold Sisera into the hands of
a woman.

Our descent was by a narrow path of zig-zags, veering alternately towards
Acre or Tiberias, although those towns were soon concealed by intervening
hills; the plain below was a large dark patch of olive plantation.

In an hour and ten minutes of wearisome toil in leading the horses down,
with no possible interval of rest, we came to the village of _Rama_;
having long before lost sight of the Mediterranean.

We took refuge from the sun in the house of a Christian named Ibrahim
Hhanna, and after an hour's sleep rose up to a feast of eggs, olives,
bread, and cream cheese, after sharing in which our guides from Rumaish
took their leave, with kindly wishes on both sides.

Next we hired a guide for our crossing the plain to 'Arabeh el Battoof on
the way to Nazareth, and travelled over alternate corn stubble and
balloot underwood.  In one short valley that we crossed there were six
_jeldeh_ or short aqueducts to water-mills.

The weather was still extremely hot.

Passed near _Dair Hhanna_, a large ruin of a fortification upon a hill
rising out of the plain; probably, as the name would seem to intimate, an
old castle of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.  A few poor people
here have built huts for themselves within the great walls, in the manner
of the Italian peasants in Goldsmith's "Traveller," who do the same
within the confines of a Caesar's palace--

    "And wondering man can want the larger pile,
    Exult and own their cottage with a smile."

Two small towers, now also in ruin, flank the castle at short distances.
These were erected by Shaikh Daher about eighty years since, who employed
the whole for military defence in his revolt against the Turks.

Near this 'Arabeh lie some time-eaten fragments of large old columns.
There we dismissed the guide, as he wished to be at home again before
dark, and we traversed the plain of _Sefuriyeh_, the celebrated Sepphoris
of Josephus' wars.

It is to be observed that in that afternoon we had crossed three narrow
but long parallel plains, all running east and west, and divided from
each other by lines of rocky hills.  The northern one contains _Rama_ and
_'Arabeh_; the middle one has _Sefuriyeh_; and the southern one has
_Tura'an_ and _Cuf'r Cana_, the place of the miracle at the marriage in
St John's Gospel.

Hoping to reach our destination by a shorter track, after passing
_Rumaneh_ and Jerjer we mounted a hill to _Mesh-had_, that was in sight,
but as darkness came on, lost our way for a considerable time; rain
threatened and fell a short time.  Once we came near a large cattle-fold,
which we afterwards learned belonged to the Latin Convent of Nazareth,
but no people appeared to answer us; then we got a gloomy view of Mount
Tabor; at length, however, we were cheered with discovering the window
lights of Nazareth, after being fourteen hours in the saddle, omitting
the two hours' rest at Rama, and the half-hour at Rumaish.

The whole country we had traversed is particularly interesting; but at
the close of the day the company were all too tired to sing aloud, as
might have been performed under other circumstances, that Arab song well
known over the country, with its wild high note (not cadence) at the end
of each line:

       "If thy horse be indeed
       A creature of speed
    Thou wilt lodge for the night in Nazareth."

In December of the next year (1854) I traversed the Rama plain
lengthwise, that is to say, from Tiberias to the plain of Acre.

After _Mejdal_ and the _Wadi el Hamam_, or "Valley of the Doves," we soon
struck out due westwards, and passed under a hill with ruins on its top
called _Sabaneh_; then some more considerable ruins in a similar position
called _Memileh_.  At a good way to our left a small village was pointed
out called _'Ailabool_, containing, among other inhabitants, a few
Christians, who have their chapel and a priest.

The whole road was extremely picturesque--the scenery consisting of
broken rocks of ochreous tinge and shoots of balloot oak; and for a long
distance at every turn, in looking backwards, there showed itself the
still lovely lake of the Gospel narratives--that object which no one can
ever forget who has had once the privilege to be near it.

We kept _Mansoorah_ steadily before the eye, but on arriving at the hill
upon which this stands, the road deviated a little, and rose over an
eminence side by side with the village.  Here we got a view of those
several separated objects--Tabor; the Sea of Galilee; and Dair Hhanna.

We were accosted by some Druse peasantry when the village of _Moghar_ was
somewhat on our left.

While passing the large olive plantations of _Rama_, we gazed up at the
long and steep ladder of the precipice by which we had descended last

Rama is at some height above the level of the plain, although low in
proportion to the mountain at its back.

Just before sunset we halted under the trees for refreshment about a
quarter of an hour, then engaged a guide to conduct us to _Yerka_, on the
plain of Acre.

The man purposely led us up to the village of Rama, over a very stony
road, hoping to induce us to stay there for the night on the way to
Yerka.  When I refused to remain, and insisted on going forwards, he took
us into places even worse for travelling, to the peril of limbs to
ourselves and the horses and mules: and great was our just wrath on
finding ourselves every few minutes in augmented trouble in utter
darkness; for there was no moon, and the stars were hid by clouds.  The
horses' feet were sometimes caught between close-wedged rocks, so that we
had to lift them out with our hands, and our boots were with difficulty
extricated from the same catch-traps; nevertheless the traitor trudged on
nimbly a-head of us, heedless of our embarrassments.  Had he not led us
up to Rama at the beginning we should have kept upon a pleasant,
well-beaten road on the level of the general plain.

At length by our own efforts we got down to this highway, and trudged on
at a good pace, the guide still trotting on in advance, out of reach of
our hands, fearful of consequences, until we reached _Mejdal Croom_, (or
_Migdol_, or Tower of the Vineyards in Hebrew,) where he swore that Yerka
was still three hours before us, and that he was exhausted with fatigue.
As we were so in reality, we halted, and with great trouble obtained a
room in the village for the night.

In the morning it was discovered that Yerka was only half-an-hour in
advance, but the mischievous fellow was already gone back to where we had
unfortunately picked him up.

In the house of our lodging I was amused by seeing rude paintings upon
the white-washed walls, rather good for native Palestine artists of the
nineteenth century.  The principal object was a three-masted ship,
actually containing what were intended for human figures; (perhaps it was
a Christian, not a Mohammedan house.)  On the masts were very large flags
of no special nationality, but one of them in exactly the opposite
direction from the others.  The three men, (constructed of lines for
limbs and a dot for the head,) looking through telescopes, were taking
observations in different quarters; but perhaps this may be allowed--two
men formed the crew.  There were no sails, and the mainmast had one
yard-arm, the rest had none.  Up in the air, near the ship's masts, were
two Arabs on horseback carrying spears; the whole tableau was coloured,
as such works in the East always are, of a uniform dull red.

_N.B._--We were within sight of the sea and the fortress of Acre.

                                * * * * *

The three previous chapters, and this one at its commencement, relate in
no inconsiderable proportion to woods, glens, and glades included in
proper forest scenery; but inasmuch as travellers in Palestine,
describing only what they have themselves seen along high-roads from town
to town, under the guidance of professional dragomans and muleteers,
generally deny the existence of forest scenery in Palestine, I may
subjoin some remarks on this particular subject.

Passing over the extensive olive plantations of Gaza, and the Sahara of
twenty square miles between Bayroot and Saida, as not exactly belonging
to the class of timber trees; and the "pine forest" near Bayroot, which
is of artificial formation for accomplishing a preconceived design; also
the neb'k and other thorny trees unfit for mechanical purposes, extending
for miles in wild profusion beyond Jericho, and adding beauty to the
scenery; there remain the veritable forests of Gilead and Bashan beyond
Jordan, seldom visited by European travellers, and the two large forests
in Western Palestine, accessible to the tourists who have leisure and
will for knowing the country.

First, the Belad Besharah to the north, north-east, and east of Tibneen,
and also west and south-west of Safed, through all of which I have
travelled with unceasing admiration and indulgence of the early taste
implanted in childhood among old forests of England.  The verdure and the
shade from the Syrian sun were delightful, with the glades and vistas, as
well as the amusing alternations often occurring of stooping to the
horse's neck in passing below the venerable branches that stretched
across the roadway.  Those sylvan scenes abound in game, and are known to
contain formidable wild animals.

Secondly, the forest extending in length at least thirty miles from below
Caesarea, northwards to the plain of Battoof beyond Sepphoris.  This was
designated the "ingens sylva" by the ancient Romans.  I have crossed this
in several lines between Nazareth and Acre or Caiffa; and twice from the
Plain of Sharon to Carmel through the _Wadi 'Arah_ by _Umm el Fahh'm_, a
village, the very name of which ("mother of charcoal") belongs to a
woodland region; besides the line from Carmel to _'Arabeh_.

The portion of this forest immediately contiguous inland from Carmel is
named "the Rohha," clearly from the fragrance exhaled by the pine and
terebinth trees, with the wild herbs upon the hills; this, together with
the dark wooded sides of the long mountain, constitutes "the forest of
his Carmel" mentioned in the boasting of the King of Assyria, (Isa.
xxxvii. 24; also x. 18, in Hebrew,) and it is the _Drymos_ of the
Septuagint and of Josephus, (Wars, i. 13, 2,) in the which a battle was
fought by those Jews who were aiding the Parthians on behalf of
Antigonus.  No wonder that the loss of men was considerable among the
woods and thickets there.  I note the accuracy of assigning the name
[Greek text] to this region, consisting as it does almost exclusively of

Besides these wide tracts of woodland, there are also the summit and
sides of Tabor, with woods along its north-eastern base.

And the district south and south-west of Hebron, in which, besides oak,
etc., pine timber is frequent,--I should rather say was, for of late
years it has been much devastated, and that too in an unmethodical
manner, to meet the increased requirements of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, etc.,
for fuel; nay, as I have been told, shiploads of it are constantly
conveyed away to Egypt, especially for works on the Suez Canal.  In like
manner, in creeks of the sea between Acre and Bayroot, may frequently be
seen small vessels loading with wood for Egypt.

Throughout all the period of my experience in Palestine, I have had
reason to deplore destruction of the growing timber by charcoal-burners
in various provinces.  I have seen the sides of whole hills in a blaze,
purposely kindled and then left by these men to perform the work with
least trouble to themselves: the Government takes no heed in the matter,
and no care is employed for propagation of new trees to succeed the
blackened ruin thus produced.

So it would appear that in ancient periods, when the land was well
peopled, the very wants of that population would, as in every other
country, keep down the growth of forests.  In the military periods of
Roman and other invasions, large timber was required for offensive and
defensive operations; and in our generation, when the population there is
exceedingly diminished, the ignorance, the bad government, and the
wastefulness of uncivilisation, produce the same result of destroying or
hindering the increase of timber growth.

There are not many parts of Palestine more bare of timber trees than the
interval between Jerusalem and Bethlehem; yet there are old houses in the
latter town whose owners pride themselves on the strong, stout rafters
and planks they contain, of a quality known far around by the name of
Bethlehem oak, and there are persons still living who can remember
oak-trees near Solomon's pools.

That this neighbourhood was formerly well wooded is still proved by the
tufts of evergreen oak which spring up everywhere over the hills.  These
tufts of brushwood are found to come from immense roots, each one enough
for several camel-loads of fire-wood.  They are dug up by the peasantry,
and sold in Jerusalem for fuel, under the name of Carameh.

It is popularly said that "once upon a time" a man of Jerusalem went to
reside at Hebron, and the usual chequered events of life occurred, ending
in the calamity of losing his eyesight.  In extreme old age he resolved
upon returning to his native city, and when he reached the Convent of Mar
Elias, half-way between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the weather being hot,
he took off his turban to rest it on the saddle before him.  "Oh, our
father," said his sons, who were walking by his side, "why art thou
uncovering the bareness of thy head?"  "It is," he replied, "that I may
enjoy the coolness that is to be enjoyed beneath the trees that I
remember to have been by the roadside all the way hence to Jerusalem."
They assured him that not only did no such avenue exist, but that not a
tree was to be seen in any direction, right or left, and that much of the
change was owing to the hostilities that had been carried on among the
villages under the laxity of the Turkish government.  "Is it so?" said
he: "then turn back, my sons, and let me die where I have lived so long;
Jerusalem is no longer what it was."

This anecdote, current among the peasantry, describes strongly, by its
very simplicity, the process that for centuries has been in operation to
reduce that country to the condition in which we now find it.

I ought not to leave the subject of forest scenery in Palestine without
inviting attention to the eloquent passages in Dr Thomson's "Land and the
Book" upon that subject.  This veteran missionary of the Lebanon knows
the whole country well, and being an American of the Far West, has been
accustomed to large forests, huge trees, and charms of woodland scenery;
yet he speaks with rapture of the groves about Banias--the solemn glens
and verdure of the Belad Besharah, and the magnificence of the Sindianeh.
This author has a keen relish for all the varied beauties of nature, and
possesses the faculty of describing them so as to enable us to share in
its healthful gratifications.


About midway between Tyre and Sidon lies what has been called by Porter
and Tristram a kind of Syrian Stonehenge; but neither they nor
Vandevelde, who likewise mentions it, really visited the spot.

The remains are not even mentioned in Carl Ritter's elaborate
compilation, the "Erd-Kunde," nor in Robinson or Thompson; but as I have
visited them five times, namely in October 1848, October 1849, September
1855, October 1857, and September 1859, I may as well tell what I know of
these monuments, which I believe to be of some importance.

The site on which they stand is a large open cultivated ground, nearly
opposite _Sarafend_, (Sarepta,) between the high-road and the sea, a
quarter of an hour south of the vestiges of _Adloon_, whose broken
columns and large pieces of tesselated pavement lie actually upon the
highway, so that our horses and mules walk over the household pavements,
or the road pavement of hexagonal slabs.  Adloon may be at half distance
between Soor and Saida.  It has been conjectured that the name is an
Arabic modification of _Adnoun_, and that again derived from _Ad nonum_,
meaning the ninth Roman mile from Tyre; but as far as my memory serves
me, that does not correspond with the real distance.

There are upright stones standing from four to six feet each above the
present level of the ground, but which may not be the original level.
There may have been a considerable rise accumulated in process of time.
The largest stone still shows six feet by a breadth of two.  They
anciently formed a parallelogram, (not a circle, which is commonly
believed to be an emblem belonging to Baal-worship,) as may be seen in
the following plan, which represents their present appearance:--

                [Picture: Ancient construction at Adloon]

The twelve stones marked _0_ are still erect; the rest, whose places are
marked by dots, are either prostrate on the ground, or have entirely
disappeared.  Between them all are spaces of two or three yards each.
The stones appear to have been carefully hewn originally, though now the
edges are worn off, or pieces have fallen away from the substances of
most of them.  They bear, however, no chisel-indications of having been
connected by lintels across the tops: they have not been placed as

Outside the parallelogram, at the distance of six yards, stand two other
stones of the same description, which probably served as a portal of

Within the enclosure is a depression of ground, in an oval shape, almost
filled up with weeds, which demands but little effort of imagination to
suggest the position of an altar now removed, leaving only the hollow
orifice of a channel for carrying away blood or ashes.  This may be worth
an examination hereafter.

There are tokens of buildings having stood near, but these may have been
of later date.  I picked up a fragment of tesselated pavement there, but
that may have come there by means of any conceivable accident from

Such is my simple account of what I cannot but believe to have been a
temple of Baal-worship for the old Phoenicians, certainly of earlier
period than any Greek or Roman architecture in the country; and vestiges
such as these, of antique Syrian monuments, may, on careful examination,
furnish us with data, useful in enabling us to understand the Celtic
remains still found in Europe.

The nearest village to these remains, though at some distance upon the
hills, is _Sairi_, hence the place is named _Sook Sairi_, from the
circumstance of a "market" of cattle and general goods being held there
periodically for the district around.  But why should this spot above all
others in the long-deserted plain be used for such a market?  Is it not a
traditional continuance of some remote custom in connexion with the
importance conferred by the ancient temple and its now-forgotten worship?
Who can tell us through how many ages this rural fair has been held at
Sairi or Adloon?

The peasant account of the stones is that they were formerly men, whom
God, or a prophet in His name, turned into stones for their wickedness,
while they were employed in reaping a harvest; further my informant could
not tell.  The narrative closely resembled the explanation given me by
country people in England respecting some almost similar stones at
Long-Compton, on the border between Oxfordshire and Warwickshire; and I
think I remember to have read of similar instances in other parts of

Vandevelde was told that this miracle was wrought by Nebi Zer, (whose
weli is in the neighbourhood,) and that this prophet Zer was nephew to
Joshua, the son of Nun,--_i.e._, if he understood his interpreter aright.

I cannot well leave that vicinity without mentioning the long lines of
sepulchres excavated in the cliff-line which runs parallel to the sea,
eastwards of the highway, and upon the crest of which line Sarafend and
other villages are posted.  These sepulchres have been noticed by
travellers generally, even while merely passing along without leaving the
beaten track, others have taken the trouble to visit them, but without
finding any inscriptions.  I have seen one inscription, the following in
Greek, and apparently unfinished:--

    [Greek text]

Although in some respects these resemble the sepulchres near Jerusalem,
they are not so elaborately formed into passages and inner chambers as
the latter.  Many of the excavations high above the ground have been at
some era adapted to residences for hermits.

Near Saida I have been shown sepulchres that were entered by steps and
passages, and coated with very hard stucco, on which were pictures in
fresco of festoons of olive and vine leaves alternated, these leaves
being diversified sometimes with tints of autumnal brown, also trees of
palm or olive, with birds upon their branches; the birds being all of one
kind, with long tails, and coloured bright yellow and red, with brown
backs.  Inasmuch as these portray living creatures they must be ascribed
to some classical, _i.e._, ante-Islamitic epoch.  The designing and
colouring of them are excellent, and the work remains in good
preservation; they are most likely of Roman art, for their style much
resembles the wall pictures of Pompeii.

I have met with no mention of these decorated sepulchres, but in Ritter's
quotation from Mariti, (Saida's Umgebungen in vol. iv. I, page 410,) and
that only lately.

The sepulchre which I entered consisted of one principal chamber, at each
side of which were three smaller recesses, besides two such opposite the
entrance.  These latter have others proceeding further within them.
There are no low shelves as in the Judaean sepulchres, but the dead were
laid in shallow trenches sunk in the rocky floor.  The stucco has only
been employed to the right and left of the principal chamber.

I pass over, as not belonging to this subject, the more recent discovery
by others near the town in 1855 of the two sarcophagi, one of them
bearing a Phoenician inscription.

                   [Picture: Temple of Baal (see p284)]


During the last twenty years there have been many English and other
visitors to Petra; but they have usually taken it in the way from Egypt
towards Jerusalem, which is probably convenient with respect to the
season of the year, inasmuch as they thereby get a warm winter before the
"sights" of Jerusalem (as some irreverently speak) begin.  It would not
be so well to take Egypt after Easter.

But, on hearing that several travellers had been unable to reach Petra
even after 'Akabah, on account of hostilities arising between the Alaween
and the Tiyahah Arabs, or on account of the exorbitant demands of money
made by the former of these, I thought the time had arrived for me to
show the practicability of getting at the wonders of Petra from
Jerusalem, under escort of the Jehaleen Arabs near Hebron.

I went accordingly, and treated with the Fellahheen of Wadi Moosa in the
place itself; and numerous travellers have since availed themselves of
this advantage, though none have published an account of their

On looking back at my notes of the journey, I am astonished at the rapid
flight of time; for although my recollection is on the whole very vivid,
these notes are dated in April 1851.  Full occupation during the
intervening period has seemed to shorten the interval.  The scene, too,
is now changed; for instead of the arid desert and the blasted porphyry
cliffs of Edom, then before my eyes, these lines are penned among the
bright green meadows of England, with the broad Thames in view, bearing
large three-masted ships on its tide, freighted with imports from the
most distant parts of the world.

With an officer of dragoons, being a traveller in Jerusalem, and under
escort of Hamzeh, the Hebron agent for the Jehaleen, we proceeded across
country to meet the Arabs in their wilderness.

Leaving the Hebron road at _'Ain Dirweh_, we ascended the lofty hill to
the little village and weli of _Nebi Yunas_, (Prophet Jonah,) which is so
conspicuous an object far away in every direction,--the minaret which
rises from the building giving it very much the appearance of a rural
church in Europe.  Thence through well-cultivated fields of wheat and
barley,--green at that season,--towards the village of _Beni Naim_; but
at quarter of the intermediate distance, passed considerable remains of
good masonry, named Khirbet _Bait Ainoon_, (ruins of Beth Enon.)  At
_Beni Naim_ is the reputed sepulchre of the Prophet Lot, according to the
Moslems; that of his daughters being on an opposite hill at no great
distance.  This village commands a grand prospect of the Dead Sea,
although there is no view of the kind from all the country around.  Is
not this the place whence Abraham, after the departure of the angels, saw
the smoke of Sodom and Gomorrah rising as the smoke of a furnace?  (Gen.
xix. 27, 28.)

Here was a travelling durweesh, fantastically dressed, amusing the
peasants by dancing and cracking a long whip; while a lad accompanying
him thumped a large drum,--both the thonged whip and the large drum being
rare objects in that country.

In a quarter of an hour we terminated our short day's journey (about six
hours and a half) in a meadow of long green grass.  The site is called
_Beerain_, from the two wells there.  Selameh, the brother of the Arab
chief, with several of his people, were awaiting our arrival; and they
were to lead us forward in the morning.

_April_ 2.--My right knee was much swollen from the strain of a sinew,
caused by an unexpected step down a bank taken by my horse when near
_Hhalhhool_, on the road from Jerusalem; consequently, feeling feverish,
and with a headache all night, I was not soothed by the camels groaning,
quarrelling, or champing their food close to my tent.

In the morning we made our bargain with Selameh, for the hire of camels,
the escort, etc.  The captain and I, with my attendants, were to ride our
horses in the desert,--taking camels to carry an extra supply of water
for them.

We started, but in a very short time became disgusted at the slow
travelling of our caravan, as we were compelled to moderate the pace of
our riding to suit the leisurely tread of the camels.  Selameh bestrode a
very young colt of the K'baishi race; but I rated my pony, of the Jilfi
stock, still higher than his.

The wide expanse before us was sprinkled with wild flowers, including the
yellow furze, (I have beside me, while writing this, a bunch of the same,
of English growth;) and the ret'm, or juniper, seven or eight feet in
height, covered with white blossom, the fragrance of which resembled, or,
if possible, was an improvement upon, the smell of a bean-field in

Near _Ziph_, the rocks have many ancient wells cut into their solid
substance.  About noon we halted at a rough natural cistern, for the
purpose of filling our barrels and kirbehs (goat and camel skins) with
water.  This task occupied an hour, during which I contrived to find just
enough shade for my head under a big stone, but took refuge in the
cistern itself while the camels were being reloaded.

Leaving this, we found the waste plains abounding in locusts innumerable,
and not full grown.  As a natural consequence, there were storks hovering
about and feasting upon them.  On account of the benefit thus conferred
on mankind by these birds, the Arabs call them _Abu Sa'ad_, _i.e._,
"Father of good fortune."

In the middle of the afternoon we arrived at the encampment of the
Jehaleen, under the north-east side of Tell _'Arad_, the site of the
Canaanitish city in Num. xxi. I, xxxiii. 40; Judges i. 16.  It was a
cheerful green site, though the verdure consisted merely of a thin and
poor grass.

We had to be introduced to the real shaikh on his own territorial domain,
namely, Hadji Daif Allah abu Dahook,--a sharp fellow in driving a
bargain,--a taller and stouter man than any of his people, who were all
extremely dirty in person and dress, and several of them but small,
withered-looking old men.  One of the women, however, was tall, and
walked with exceeding dignity of manner.

Our European tents were pitched at some distance from the black hair
tents of the Arabs and we observed, soon after our arrival, that three
strangers came up on horseback, carrying spears tufted with black ostrich
feathers, on a visit to our shaikh.  They were well received; and songs,
with clapping of hands, continued during a great part of the night, with
a monotonous accompaniment of the women grinding corn in their

_April_ 3.--We rose early, enjoying the indescribable beauty and purity
of starlight in an oriental desert, thermometer, Fahrenheit, 53.25
degrees, at sunrise; but before sunrise I mounted to the summit of the
hill, where I found no vestiges of a city, only the foundation of a
castle, or some such edifice, of about a hundred feet by sixty.  In fact,
this covered nearly the whole surface of the summit.  The city must,
therefore, have been situated on the plain, the metropolis of a petty
Canaanitish king; but every trace of it is gone.

Low hills bounded the view on every side, over which some peaks of the
Moab mountains showed themselves in the east.

When fairly started on the march at 10 past 6 A.M., we went along very
cheerily, accompanied by Hadji Daif Allah and the three strangers, till,
on a sudden, the latter wheeled about, and required from us the ghuf'r,
or toll, for our future passage through their country.  The shaikh
recommended us to make them a present of a couple of dollars, as they
were neighbours of Petra, and without their good-will we should not be
able to succeed in the expedition.

We complied, and they rode off southwards, Abu Dahook returning to his

Wearisome indeed is travelling with camels; but what would it have been
had we been mounted upon them, as is generally the case with travellers
from Sinai and 'Akabah!  We horsemen frequently imitated the practice of
old Fadladeen in _Lalla Rookh_, when he rode ahead of his caravan, and
alighted now and then to enjoy the spectacle of the procession coming up
and passing, then mounted again to repeat the pleasure.

The strongest and worst tempered one of our camels having the barrels of
water to carry, suddenly lay down and rolled them from him.  Had his
burden been the skins of water instead, they would have burst, and we
should have lost their precious contents.  Our Arabs not being accustomed
to the convoy of travellers, were as yet unskilful in loading the camels,
or in poising the burdens in equal divisions; and most extraordinary
noises did they make in urging the beasts forward,--sounds utterly
indescribable in European writing, or even by any combinations of the
Arabic alphabet!

We had about half a dozen men, mostly trudging on foot, and but slightly
armed, commanded by Selameh; and one of them, named Salem, was the
merry-andrew of the party, full of verbal and practical jokes.  The ride
was exhilarating,--over a level plain, green with thin grass or weeds,
and low shrubs, whose roots extended to surprising distances, mostly
above the surface of the ground; the morning breeze delicious, with larks
trilling high above us in the sky, and smaller birds that sang among the

Sometimes we caught distant views of innumerable storks devouring the
infant locusts upon the hill-sides.

Passed _'Ain Mel'hh_, (Salt-fountain,) which Robinson identifies with the
Moladah of Joshua xix. 2, by means of the transition name of Malatha in
Greek.  The only building now remaining is a square weli, surmounted by a
dome.  Here we were not far from Beersheba, upon our right, and fell in
with the common route from Gaza and Hebron to Ma'an.  Finding a flock of
goats, we got new milk from the shepherd; when diluted with water, this
is a refreshing beverage.

On coming up to a camp of Saadeen Arabs, our cook, a vain-glorious
Maronite from the Lebanon, and ignorant of Arab customs, attempted to
fire upon a watch-dog at the tents for barking at him; and it was judged
necessary to deprive him of his pistols for the rest of the journey.  Had
he succeeded in his folly, we should have got into considerable trouble;
for an Arab watch-dog is accounted so valuable, that to kill one of them
might have entailed upon us a long delay, and a formal trial in a council
of elders of different tribes, collected for the purpose; followed by the
penalty awarded by the unwritten laws which obtain in the desert, namely,
a payment of as much fine wheat as would entirely cover the dog when held
up by his tail, and the nose touching the ground, and this is no small
quantity; such delay would have probably thwarted our whole journey.

At a narrow pass, called _Daiket 'Arar_, was the shell of an old
building, now roofless.  Near this, and by the wayside, as we advanced,
were considerable remains of foundations of houses.  There must have been
a town of note at that place, it is the 'Aroer of 1 Sam. xxx. 28.  Our
course now suddenly trended towards the east, instead of southwards.

In less than another hour we came to _Kubbet el Baul_, merely the
foundation of a small weli.  Selameh told us that this had belonged to a
tribe called Bali, (or Baul in the plural.)  I have no doubt that this is
the site of _Balah_ of Joshua xix. 3; and that from it the Arabs,
settling near it afterwards, derived their appellation.

We soon afterwards, 3 P.M., passed _Curnub_, a ruined place on the right,
and descended the slope of _Muzaikah_.

In another hour and a half, namely, at half-past four, we halted for the
night, after a journey of ten hours.  It was on a smooth, pebbly plain,
dotted with shrubs, having lines of chalky hills to the south-west, for
which our people had no other name than _Jebel el Ghurb_, or the "western
mountain."  The whole scene was that of a mere desert; no creatures were
to be seen or heard but ourselves.  No Turkish authorities ever intrude
into this purely Arab wilderness; still less was the landscape spoiled by
the smoke of European factories.  No speck of cloud had we seen the whole
day through.

Not far from this must have transpired the incidents recorded of Hagar
and Ishmael,--incidents that might have occurred yesterday, or last week;
for a few thousand years count but little in so primitive a region.

Our ragged fellows ran about singing, in search of thorns or long roots,
or even the straggling plants of bitter colocynth, as fuel for our

Stars arose, but such stars! not like the spangles of the English poet's
conception, those "patines of bright gold," though that idea is
beautiful; but one could see that they were round orbs that flashed
streams of diamond light from out their bigness.

So luxurious a bed as that spread upon the desert sand, amid such pure
air for breathing, is scarcely to be obtained but in exactly similar
circumstances; and we were undisturbed by cries of any wild beasts,
although jackals and hyenas are common at night in the more cultivated
parts of Palestine.

_April_ 4.--Thermometer, Fahrenheit, 53.75 degrees at sunrise.  We had
our breakfast, and were off again by sunrise.  It is said that

    "Early to bed, and early to rise,
    Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

It remained to be seen what the effect would be upon us.

The groom being left behind a short time for packing up the kitchen
utensils, allowed us to get out of sight without his observing the
direction we had taken; and, when mounted, he took a wrong course.  It
was therefore necessary to give chase towards the hills to recover him.

In an hour we reached two tul'hh (acacia or mimosa) trees, from which, I
believe, the gum-arabic is obtained, and the stump of a third.  These
were the first that we had seen.  Then descended, during about half an
hour, to the broken walls of a town called _Sufah_, below which commenced
the very remarkable nuk'beh, or precipitous slope into the great Wadi
'Arabah.  Before commencing this, however, we paused to survey the savage
scenery around us, and the glorious expanse of the plain, which extends
from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, and is bounded on one side by the hills
of Judaea, and on the other by the mountains of Edom,--on an average of
3500 feet above the level,--including Mount Hor, the most conspicuous
peak among them.  At that time, however, the range was capped with
rolling mists of the morning.

This _Sufah_ is most likely the _Zephath_ of Judges i. 17,--the frontier
town of King Arad the Canaanite, which the tribes of Judah and Simeon
destroyed, and called the site Hormah, (_i.e._, "devoted to
destruction.")  If so, it is strange that the Canaanitish name should
outlive the one intentionally given by the early Israelites.  Probably,
the surrounding tribes never adopted the Hebrew name, and preserved the
original one.

We were standing among crevasses of shivered mountains, whose strata are
tossed about in fantastic contortions; and what we had yet to traverse
below this, was something like a thousand feet of very slippery rock,
lying in flakes, and sloping two ways at once.  The greater length forms
a rough line, at an angle of what seemed to the eye to be one of
forty-five degrees,--not so steep as the Terabeh that we came to
afterwards, but longer and more perilous.  Yet this is the only approach
to Jud_ae_a from the desert for many leagues around.  Was it here that
King Amaziah destroyed his Edomite prisoners after his victory in the
"valley of salt?"  (2 Chron. xxv. 12.)

Half way down, one of our barrels of water slipped off a camel, and
rolled into a chasm with noise and echoes like thunder.  Wonderful to
relate, it was not broken, and we were thankful for its preservation.

At the bottom of the precipice, just beyond the shingle or debris of the
mountain, the captain and I rested, and drank some camels' milk.  This
the Bedaween consider very strengthening.  There were several
tul'hh-trees in a torrent-bed beside us, and some neb'k.  With some twine
that we gave him, and a stout thorn of tul'hh, one of our Arabs mended
his sandal, which was in need of repair.  We, having preceded the beasts
of burthen over the slippery rock, sat watching them and the men creeping
slowly down, in curved lines, like moving dots, towards us.

Upon the ground we found some dried palm-branches and slips of vine,
which must have belonged to some former travellers, passing from the
western towns to Ma'an, for neither palm nor vine grows in this
wilderness, of which it may be truly said, "It is no place of seed, or of
figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates," (Num. xx. 5;) and it is now
become like a past dream, that Virgil and Lucan mentioned the palm-trees
of Idumaea. {301}

So at length we were upon the great 'Arabah, or "wilderness of Zin," of
the Israelitish wanderings; and our path was to be diagonally across
this, pointed direct at Mount Hor in the south-east.

On crossing a shallow wadi named _Fik'r_, they told us of a spring of
water to be found in it, at a good distance to the north-east.

After some hours, we came to _Wadi Jaib_, sometimes styled the Jeshimon,
as well as its corresponding plain on the north of the Dead Sea, and in
Arabic both are called "the Ghor," in the shallow bed of which were
receptacles for water, concealed by canes and brushwood laid in the
utmost disorder, so as to produce the appearance of mere random drift of
winter storms.  Without the Arabs, of course, we should never have
suspected the existence of such valuable stores.  Probably also the
Bedaween from a distance would not be aware of such resources there.  The
covering would, besides, serve to prevent a speedy evaporation of the
water by the sun's heat.  These spots were shaded likewise by tul'hh,
sunt, and neb'k-trees.  There we watered the cattle and filled our
vessels. {302}  In another half hour we rested for the night, having made
a march of nearly twelve hours, over more tiring ground than that of

_'Ain Weibeh_ was to our right, which Robinson conjectured to be Kadesh

We perceived footprints of gazelles and of hyenas.

_April_ 5.  Sunrise, Fahrenheit, 62.25 degrees.  Our Jerusalem bread
being now exhausted, we took to that of the desert-baking, which is very
good while fresh and hot from the stones on which the improvisation of
baking is performed, but not otherwise for a European digestion: and our
servants, with the Bedaween, had to chase the chickens every morning.
The survivors of those brought from Jerusalem being humanely let out of
their cages for feeding every evening, the scene of running after them,
or flinging cloaks in the air when they took short flights, not to
mention the shouts of the men and the screams of the birds, was very
ludicrous, but annoying, when time is precious.  The merry little Salem
enjoyed all this, as well as the amusements of our people, during the
monotony of daily travelling: as, for instance, the captain rolling
oranges along the ground, as prizes for running, or his mounting a camel
himself, or riding backwards, etc.--anything for variety.

The desert may be described as a dried pudding of sand and pebbles, in
different proportions in different places,--sometimes the sand
predominating, and sometimes the pebbles,--with occasionally an abundance
of very small fragments of flint, serving to give a firmer consistency to
the sand.  Round boulders are also met with on approaching the
hill-sides.  In one place large drifts of soft yellow sand were wrinkled
by the wind, as a smooth sea-beach is by the ripples of a receding tide.
These wrinkles, together with the glare of a burning sun upon them,
affected the eyes, so as to make the head giddy in passing over them.

Wild flowers and shrubs are not wanting; and the former are often very
fragrant.  I observed among those that are so, a prevalence in their
names of the letter [Arabic letter] (gh); as Ghurrah, Ghubbeh, Ghurkud,
Ghuraim, etc.  They brought me a handful of _meijainineh_, which was said
to be good for pains in the stomach; and the starry flower, called
_dibbaihh_, not unlike a wild pink, is eaten by the people, both petals,
calyx, and stalk.

The tul'hh, or mimosa-tree, has a strange appearance, very like an open
fan, or the letter V filled up.

The green foliage of it is particularly vivid at the season when we saw
it, and the thorns long and sharp. {304}

Distances are hard to judge of in such extensive plains and in so clear
an atmosphere.  We had been nearly two days in sight of Mount Hor,
straight before us; yet the mountain only grew in size as we approached
it, not in distinctness.

                         [Picture: Tul'hh Trees]

As we came nearer to the eastern mountains, we found innumerable and huge
blocks of porphyry rock scattered over the ground.  The Arabs called the
range of Seir by the name of _Jebel Sherreh_.

At about eight hours from our last night's station, we turned off the
Wadi 'Arabah by the narrow _Wadi Tayibeh_ into the heart of the
mountains, at the foot of Hor.

Ascended a series of precipices, and, at some elevation, met two young
English gentlemen, with a pair of double-barrelled pistols shared between
them, and their fingers ready on the triggers.  They had a tale to relate
of grievous exactions made by the Fellahheen of Petra,--which, however,
seemed to me, by their account, to have been brought on unconsciously by
themselves, in having taken an escort of Tiyahah Arabs from Nukh'l
instead of the Alaween; and they informed me that a clergyman from
Cambridge was still detained there, as he refused to comply with the
excessive demands of the people.

On what a stupendous scale is geology to be studied in Mount Seir, where
you have masses of red sandstone 1500 feet in depth; yellow sandstone
extending miles away in ranges of hills, and the sandy desert beneath;
all of this incapable of cultivation; and inspiring a sensation of deep
sadness, in connexion with the denunciations of God's prophecies!

At a quarter before four we caught the first glimpse of the Mezar of
Aaron's tomb, and at five pitched our tents on the rugged side of Hor,
among crags and scented plants, enlivened by numerous cuckoos, and the
sweet warbling of one little bird.  What reminiscences of dear old
England the song of the cuckoos awakened!  Now, however, from henceforth,
being in England, their song will infallibly recall the memory to large
bare mountains, extreme heat of climate, and the fragrance of Elijah's
ret'm plant.

During the last hour we had seen some blue pigeons, one partridge, and,
separately, two large eagles, to which our attention had been drawn by
their shadows moving on the ground before us; then, on looking upwards,
the royal birds were seen sailing along, silently and slowly, against the
blue vault of ether.

This had been the hottest day of our whole journey; and the atmosphere
became thick as the evening stole over the hills.

_April_ 6_th_.--Sunrise, Fahrenheit 77 degrees.  In the morning we
advanced upwards towards Aaron's tomb.  Walking in front of the luggage,
we met the clergyman of whom we had heard the day before.  He had been
allowed to leave Petra on suffering the people to take money out of his
pockets,--reserving to himself the intention of complaining against them
officially to the consul in Jerusalem.

He had been to the summit of Hor, and pronounced the view from it to be
more grand and striking than that from Sinai.  On bidding him farewell,
we took Selameh and one kawwas, for clambering on our hands and knees to
the summit, leaving the luggage to proceed and wait for us farther on;
but had to rest occasionally in the shade of large trees of 'Arar, which
Robinson considered to be the true juniper, and not the ret'm.  The
latter (the _rothem_ of the Hebrew Bible, under which the Prophet Elijah
reposed) was very abundant, and covered with white blossom, shedding the
richest perfume.  Is it possible that all this fragrance, and the
warbling of the birds, is but "wasted in the desert air?"

The mountain is all of dark-red colour; and the higher we ascended, the
more difficult we found the progress to be.  At length all farther
advance seemed impossible, till, on looking round, we observed an
excavation for a well, with masonry around it; and beyond this were steps
cut into the rock, which rock was sloped at an angle of between fifty and
sixty degrees.  This encouraged us to persevere.

Still higher, I picked up some tesserae of mosaic, and morsels of marble
and alabaster,--a piece of the latter now lies on the table before me.

At length we attained the highest peak, where there was scarcely more
space than sufficient to contain the small weli-building, which was at
the time untenanted, though we had expected to find a Moslem devotee in
permanent residence there.

                      [Picture: Small weli-building]

I utterly despair of being able to describe the prospect around us; and
can only say that extensive mountain-peaks lay in lines below, and might
be compared to those made upon embossed maps, but that the whole scene
was vast, savage, and abandoned to sombre desolation--both the hills and
the desert--in every direction.

The atmosphere was too thick and hazy to allow of very distant views.
Neither of the two waters--the Red Sea or the Dead Sea--was visible.

Let those who take pleasure in doing so, doubt that on that peak lies
interred Aaron, the first high priest of Israel, "the saint of the Lord,"
and that there was effected the first personal transfer of the pontifical
office from him to Eleazer his son.  Rather let me believe that there my
unworthy footsteps have been placed on the same pieces of rock with the
two venerable brothers who led up the redeemed people from Egypt, "the
house of bondage," and that it was there they parted, leaving Moses to
carry on the task alone.

    "Three Hebrew cradles, the Nile-palms under,
       Rock'd three sweet babes upon Egypt's plain:
    Three desert graves must those dear ones sunder,
       Three sorrowful links of a broken chain.
    Kadesh and Hor, and Nebo yonder,
       Three waymarks now for the pilgrim train." {309}

I seated myself, and wrote a brief letter to a dear relative in England.

Entering the weli, we found near the door a common-looking tomb, with an
Arabic inscription,--which, however, I found too illegible to allow of
its being copied; and over the tomb was spread a pall of silk, striped in
red, green, and white, but much faded.  Against a pillar, which supports
the roof, were hung rows of coloured rags and threads of yarn, with
snail-shells and sea-shells strung among them by way of further ornament.
A wooden bowl, at one end of the tomb, was probably intended to receive
alms for the support of the devotee who claims the place, and who
practises the curing of diseases by charms among the wild Arabs.

The floor of the chamber has been handsomely paved with tesselated bits
of coloured marble, much of which still remains.  Over the tomb are
suspended some ostrich eggs on a line, as is common in oriental churches;
and near it is a mihrab, or niche in the wall, to indicate the southerly
direction for Moslem prayers.

In a corner of the floor, a flight of steps leads down to a crypt; and,
providing ourselves with a light, we descended thither, in expectation of
finding there the more ancient tomb, believed to be genuine, as it is the
usual practice in Moslem welies to have an imitation tomb on the common
floor at the entrance, while the true one is exactly beneath it.  But we
only found an iron grating, swinging loose to the touch, and within it a
plain wall, from which part of the plaster having fallen away, allowed to
be seen the corner of a kind of stone sarcophagus.  The portion visible
was not, however, sufficient to enable us to judge of its probable era.
The ceiling of the crypt is blackened by the smoke of lamps.

I then mounted, by the outside of the building, to the top of the dome,
but could see nothing thence of Petra, so deeply sunk is that valley
betwixt high hills.

Descending the mountain by the opposite side of that of our
arrival,--namely, on the side next to Petra,--we discovered that more
pains in roadmaking had been bestowed there, and that the ascent in that
direction would be comparatively easy.  Cuckoos and partridges were heard
plentifully; and, on looking back, I saw a very large raven hovering over
the weli.

In an hour's descent we rejoined our servants and horses, but were not
yet at the foot of the mountain.

Entering a valley of red rocks, much streaked with blue in wavy lines,
the first work of antiquity that met our view was a square turret on each
side of the road.  Then we passed some tombs, or chambers, cut into the
massive red cliffs with architectural cornices, pediments, and pilasters,
some of them very handsome.  Next was what Laborde marks in his map as
"the solitary column."  It is standing solitary; but then near its base
lie other columns of the same edifice, with the circular slices (or
_drums_, as architects term them) that composed them, scarcely disturbed
as they slid down in falling.

In five minutes more we halted for the night close to what Laborde
designates the Acropolis, where a pile of fine building lies prostrate,
and the columns on the ground, in their segments, still touching each

At the foot of this heap stands what is named the Palace of Pharaoh; and
our station within it appeared, from the black relics of fires there, to
be a frequent resting-place for travellers.

Here, then, we were fairly lodged among the wonders which so deservedly
excite the curiosity of the world, and proceeded to improve time, before
the Fellahheen of the district should arrive to annoy us, by crowding and

It is not my design to recount in detail the marvels of the place,--this
has been done by Laborde, Lord Lindsay, Wilson, and Robinson,--but just
to say, that having with me the small edition of Laborde and some
manuscript notes extracted from other books, by their help I saw most of
what was to be seen.  I wandered through streets of the middle town;
surveyed and entered palaces hewn into crimson rocks; sat reading on the
solid benches of the theatre, and walked along its stage; then gazed with
unwearied admiration on the beautiful Khazneh, its delicate tints and
graceful proportions, and went to rest upon a green bank opposite to it,
with a running stream at my feet, bordered by gorgeous oleanders, where I
chatted with some wild Arabs arriving from the south.  Such a harmony of
ruddy tints, from the darkest buds of the oleander, through gradations on
the rocks, to the most delicate pink, was truly a feast of nature for the

These are incidents never to be forgotten, and the memory of them is
unspeakably charming.  I made a few rough sketches; but it may be
sufficient here to give only a specimen of the capitals of columns that
are peculiar to Petra.

                       [Picture: Capital of column]

During the afternoon the thermometer stood inside the tent at 95 degrees

The captain, my companion, went alone to explore the chasm called the
_Sik_, as my slight sprain, after being almost forgotten during the
journey, had become painful again from the effects of climbing upon Mount

But I had come to Petra for business; and the indigenous peasantry of
Wadi Moosa were gathering around our tents from different directions.
They had not been prepared for the reception of guests arriving from the
north, _i.e._, Jerusalem, as travellers usually come from 'Akabah or
Sinai, through Nukh'l.

Our Arabs, both Jehaleen and some strangers, set to making themselves
comfortable.  There arrived a large body of the Fellahheen, headed by
Shaikh Suliman es Said, a ragged and ugly crew, he as dirty as the rest,
but strutting about in a robe of bright scarlet.

Then commenced the negotiations and disputes between them and ours; noise
and menace speedily ensued, alternated with diplomatic manoeuvres, for
our champion, Selameh, was an able practitioner in such matters, at least
he had a reputation for it.  The stormy scenes were not concluded till
late in the night, and they ended by an arrangement that travellers,
arriving by the new road from Jerusalem, should pay the same pecuniary
acknowledgment to the territorial owners as had been hitherto claimed
from those arriving under Alaween escort from Nukh'l or 'Akabah; and this
agreement I ratified orally, as writing or sealing would have been
altogether out of place there.  One might think that so simple a matter
could have been finished in five minutes; but just as in European
business of that nature, it is always necessary for the contracting
parties to be allowed scope for the display of their professional

_April_ 7_th_.--Sunrise, Fahrenheit 65.75 degrees.  An inundation of
strange Arabs from the desert had arrived during the night, and it was
computed that there were not less than two hundred guns round our tents,
while our party had not more than five, with a few pistols.  We were
hemmed in by the newcomers, and the crags over us were occupied by men
with guns laid in position between crevices.  Some men were scattered
about, shooting at birds; but it seemed to me their real object was
rather the making of signals.

These people were 'Ali Rasheed's branch of the Alaween, from a district
not so distant as 'Akabah.  Our Jehaleen party looked very insignificant
among them; they had evidently not expected this turn of events.

As soon as we Europeans showed ourselves after breakfast, the Fellahheen
rushed forward to serve as guides in exhibiting the curiosities.  Feeling
rather lame, I decided on remaining at the tents with my two kawwases as
sentinels; the more disposed to do so, as the strangers had, during the
night, purloined some articles from the Jehaleen.

It was a warm, misty morning, and in the absence of my companion I found
considerable amusement in the screams of multitudes of wild birds, high
aloft "among the holes of the rocks, and the tops of the rugged
rocks,"--probably all of them birds of prey,--which echoed and
reverberated with sounds closely resembling the laughter and shouts of
children in their vociferous games.  On their return, the Fellahheen were
rapacious in demands for remuneration of their services, but were at
length contented.  This was the signal for the others to take their
advantage.  They wanted toll to be paid for crossing part of the desert
on which they thought the Jehaleen had no right or precedent for bringing
strangers.  So, on our preparing to leave the ground, they rushed up the
bank, secured commanding points for their guns, and thus exacted their
fee.  The screams and hubbub were at length terminated by some small
backsheesh, (to our surprise, how little was required,) and we all
marched away in a northern direction, the opposite to that of our

This gave us an opportunity of passing again in front of the principal
edifices, if they may be so denominated, including what I had not before
seen, the sepulchre with the Latin inscription in large letters, QVINTVS.

It is to be noticed that Petra itself is called by the Arabs, Wadi
Pharaon, {316} not Wadi Moosa.  The two valleys are adjoining, but in the
latter there are no antiquities or wonders.  At a distance, however, the
journey to Petra is usually called a journey to Wadi Moosa, because the
Fellahheen of the region about there, and to whom toll is paid, are
cultivators of the Wadi Moosa.

Before leaving the place, it may be observed that the neighbourhood must
have been kept in a high state of cultivation during the Roman empire for
the maintenance of so numerous and luxurious a population of the city,
instead of the absence of necessaries of civilised life that we now see
there; and that good state of things must have continued in later
Christian periods, when the district formed "the third Palestine," and
deputed bishops to the synods of Jerusalem and elsewhere.

With respect to the colouring of the hills and rocks, it is truly
surprising to behold such huge masses of deep red colour, variegated with
wavy lines of violet and purple and blue, especially in the direction
towards Mount Hor.  We did not, however, remark so much of yellow and
orange as Laborde or Irby and Mangles describe.

I find since that Dr Wilson states these rocks to be highly saliferous,
and says the Arabs scrape them with knives to obtain saltpetre for making
their rude gunpowder.  He is of opinion that in some geological era the
whole place has been formed in a salt-water lake.  Few people have had so
much leisure for making researches there as he had.

The temperature was high in the valley, because closely confined between
lines of hills; notwithstanding that the elevation is supposed to exceed
2000 feet above the Mediterranean.  What it may be in a more advanced
season than April I cannot tell; but I perceived neither scorpions nor
serpents there, (as some represent the place to abound in,) no creeping
things worse than earwigs.

When on the march, we learned that the robbery of the night by 'Ali
Rasheed's people, amounted to one camel, one gun, and old Selameh's
sandals.  Also, that those three men whom we saw on the 2d April at Abu
Dahook's camp were of the same faction, probably also my visitors of the
Khazneh yesterday.  Selameh thought that for a couple of gazis (about
three shillings and sixpence) he might succeed in a redemption of his
goods.  These I gave him, and he trudged back over the hills with one of
his people, while we kept on our way.  He was to meet us at our night's

The last glance given to Petra showed us the palace of Pharaoh, and the
peak of Hor with Aaron's tomb.

Our way led us over a tolerable plain, made agreeable by the fragrance of
the ret'm, as wafted along by the breeze; this plant sometimes almost
covering the small branch valleys.

Soon after noon we were in the _Wadi Nemela_, through which we travelled
for nearly two hours,--a scene of broken rocks on each side, and the
intermediate space with a profusion of oleander, ret'm and 'arar, all in
flower, some of the latter having trunks of ten feet in circumference.

Thence we issued upon a heath covered with low fragrant herbs; our Arabs
singing, and the camels striding on famously, followed by a poor little
lamb that we had bought at Petra.  This, of course, we did not intend to
convey all the way to Jerusalem; but his presence constantly reminded me
of the text, (Isa. xvi. 1,) "Send ye the lamb (to) the ruler of the land
from Sela [_i.e._ Petra] to the wilderness, unto the mount of the
daughter of Zion."  This is no longer the time when the king of Moab paid
tribute "to the king of Israel, 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams, with the
wool," (2 Kings iii. 4.)

Soon after two P.M. we were passing over ledges of porphyry
mountain-cliffs, dark and gloomy, but enlivened by large yellow salvia in
bloom, and plenty of flowers visible in the hollow below; the whole scene
most romantic and fantastic in formation.  Such huge piles of porphyry I
had not seen since those of the coast of Peterhead and Buchan, lashed by
the great billows coming from the Baltic Sea.  Occasionally we came to
standing pools of water, which, lying on this hard kind of stone, could
not filter away or be absorbed, as in our Palestine limestone would be
the case.  From these settlements our water vessels were supplied.
Thermometer in shade of a rocky cliff, 75.75 degrees Fahrenheit.

We were soon again upon sandstone cliffs, but wildly broken, and
descending into lower ground with its juniper and oleander.  Then
ascended again, and attained our greatest elevation by half-past three,
at least equal to Robinson's calculation of 1500 feet above the 'Arabah.
For two hours more we had to traverse cliffs, gullies, crags, and
precipices of red porphyry or green syenite alternately, in enormous
masses, split by convulsions of nature, and next arrived in a valley
strewed with huge fragments, angular, not rounded boulders, yet fallen
from the adjacent mountains.  But we were still high above the wide level
of the 'Arabah.

Halted at half-past five; thermometer, Fahrenheit 71.25 degrees, and,
during our dinner, old Selameh rejoined us, having failed in his dealings
with the Alaween, who refused to restore their plunder, as they said
their object was to punish the Jehaleen, for bringing travellers through
their country, instead of making them go by way of Egypt. {320}  He
reported that thirty more Arabs had arrived at Petra, half-an-hour after
our starting.

_April_ 8_th_.--Sunrise, Fahrenheit 59 degrees.  Moving again at six
o'clock.  In half an hour we were clear of the mountains of Seir or Edom;
but for another hour the ground was still strewn with blocks of porphyry
and green syenite, too hard for any of our implements to break off bits
from them, and fragments small enough to be carried away were very
difficult to find; however, we got some.  These large stumbling-blocks,
together with dry watercourses, rendered our travelling unusually
troublesome to the horses and camels, and wearisome to ourselves.

At length we got upon the free 'Arabah, among green shrubs and trees of
tul'hh and neb'k.

At nine o'clock we came to a high sandbank, beneath which was a verdant
line of tamarisk, and ghar, and tall canes, with frogs croaking among
them.  All of these were indications of water; and, accordingly, we found
a spring named _'Ain Taasan_, being one of those which together form the
stream of _Buwairdeh_.  Here we filled our water vessels to the utmost,
as it was not expected we should find any more good water for two days to

The surrounding prospect was one of utter desolation, and I took out my
Bible and read the words of 2 Kings iii. 8,-9, and 20: "And he said,
Which way shall we go up?  And he answered, The way through the
wilderness of Edom.  So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah,
and the king of Edom; and they fetched a compass of seven days' journey:
and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed
them . . .  And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat-offering
was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the
country was filled with water."

On the spot, as well as at the present time, I remembered with pain the
deplorable weakness and wickedness of the remarks on this event contained
in Paine's "Age of Reason," and which I do not choose to repeat.  The
most charitable opinion that one can entertain of such writers is that
they know nothing of the nature of the country under consideration.
Thank God that the world at large, and that land in particular, is now
better known than formerly, and, as a consequence, our evidences of the
truth of the blessed Bible are daily the more confirmed.

We then proceeded northwards along the bed of that stream; but in a few
minutes its water was lost in the sand.  In another hour we entered the
dry bed of the _Wadi el Jaib_, and continued along its course in the
direction of the Dead Sea.

The hills were misty on both sides, and the ground hot beneath, as we
tramped along, all our voices hushed during the "strength of the heat,"
(according to Arab expression,) and the footfall of the camels entirely
without noise.

Who can sufficiently admire the adaptation of this creature to the
desert, in which the Maker and Ruler of all has placed him?  No heat
exceeds the power of his endurance; steadily, patiently, silently he
stalks his long strides over the yellow ground--one animal following
another in regular military step.  And during our travels at least he
never flagged--the large eyes never lost their brightness; and who ever
saw a camel, even though his master may seek rest or shade as he finds
opportunity, shrink from the blazing brightness of the sun?

Halted for the night shortly before five P.M., the journey having been
one of eleven hours.  But the Arabs insisted on our being placed behind
the corner of a re-entering valley, in order that our fire and smoke
might not be seen during the night by hostile people from a distance.

Thermometer at sunset, 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

We found footprints of gazelles, storks, and hyenas.

Mount Hor at that distance, and in that direction, very much resembles
the Salisbury Crags of Edinburgh.

_April_ 9_th_--Sunrise, Fahrenheit 63.5 degrees.  Tents struck, and all
on the march by half-past five.  Losing sight of Mount Hor.

At a quarter to eight a breeze sprung up from the north, so refreshing in
that hot and dry wilderness as to merit the praise of the Bedawi poem,

    "Shemali, ya hawa ed-deeret shemali."

    "The north!  O thou wind of the northern direction,
    It has increased my blessing, and all that belongs to me,
    And after weakness of state, has changed my condition."

I find, however, that this literal translation gives but a very poor idea
of the feeling concentrated in the words of the original, and only feebly
expresses the reminiscence of that time as still preserved at the moment
of this writing.

Soon after eight o'clock we were out of the Wadi el Jaib, that is to say,
the high cliffs of marl on each side abruptly terminated, previous to
which, they had been at first more than a hundred feet above our heads,
and then gradually diminishing in height as we advanced.  We descended
gradually into the semicircular expanse of marshes called El Ghuwair or
the Little Ghor, with the large Dead Sea and the _Khash'm Usdum_, or salt
mountain of Sodom, spread out before us.

The course of the wadi we had left trended from south-east to north-east,
on issuing from which we took the line on the western side of the
Ghuwair, and easily descended over small eminences.  This place is most
probably the "ascent of Akrabbim," (Num. xxxiv. 4, and Josh. xv. 3,) the
southern boundary of the land given to Israel, and named after its
abundance of scorpions.  In our hasty passage over it we saw none of

Among the marshes we found several palms growing wild.  They were stumpy
in stature, and ragged in form for want of cultivation, or perhaps of
congenial soil.  The miasma was strongly perceptible to the smell, and
our horses were plagued with flies and gnats.  How great was this change
from the pure dry air of the mountains!

Quarter to ten at _'Ain 'Aroos_, (the bridegroom's fountain,) but the
water was brackish.

Thermometer in the shade, 83.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

For an hour past our people had been on the alert, on account of a feud
between them and the Ghawarineh Arabs.  On coming up to the print of a
human footstep, this was carefully examined as to its size, direction of
the tread, etc.  The circumstances were not, however, exactly parallel to
the occurrence in Robinson Crusoe, which naturally came to mind.

At twenty minutes to eleven, having completed the western curve of the
Ghuwair, we fell in with the _Wadi Hhuggereh_, which came up from the
south-west, and on looking back, perceived a distinct mirage visible over
the dry sands which occupy part of the Ghuwair, probably the effect of a
salty deposit.

About noon we arrived at a clear, running stream of water, but which
proved, on tasting, to be highly impregnated with salt.  The surface of
the plain was in a great measure covered with a white efflorescence.
Along the middle of this plain there was a sunken channel of a mile and a
half in length, occupied by an overflowing of the Dead Sea, which,
however, did not interfere with our track.

At the end of this, and on approaching the corner of the salt mountain,
we had an _incident_ to enliven the tediousness of the hot journey.  A
party of Arabs came in sight.  Our men discovered them first, and running
forwards, primed their guns, or lighted the match of the lock, drew their
swords and screamed, making bare the right arm, as if prepared for awful
deeds.  The others took up position behind low rocks, unslung their
fire-arms, and screamed _not_.  Presently a real or fictitious
recognition took place, the guns on both sides were fired up in the air,
and swords were brandished for very joy.  Both parties rushed into each
other's embraces, smiling and kissing with the greatest fervour.

The comers proved to be some of their own Jehaleen, escorting some Hebron
townsmen to Kerak.  There were two women among the latter, some old men,
and some conjurers with monkeys, who thereupon set up a dance to the
music of tambourines.  Upon something like equanimity being restored, the
strangers informed us of certain doings that had taken place, on our
account, since we had passed by there, and which nearly concerned us.

The two parties soon separated, taking opposite directions.

As we were close upon the western side, there was the southern end of the
Dead Sea at our right hand, coming up imperceptibly upon the land, flush
with it, so that no limit could be distinguished between water and the
wet beach.

At a few minutes past one we all alighted before the large cavern which
runs into the heart of the salt mountain; and a picturesque group our
party formed, spread about in some shade of the hill, with a great
variety of costumes and colours--the camels kneeling and the horses
picketed upon the bay of the sea of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Entering the cavern, we found relics of the recent French expedition
thither, under M. de Saulcy, such as egg-shells and torn paper coverings
of candles, with French shopkeepers' names upon them.  We did not
penetrate far inwards, but could see traces of occasional overflowings of
the lake into the interior.

The mountain itself is a wonder: five miles of salt above ground, and a
hundred feet, probably in some places two hundred feet high.  The colour
is not bright, but of a dull gray.  The best parts of it are very hard to
break, and with difficulty we brought away some pieces for curiosity.

As for Lot's wife,--the pillar of salt, mentioned and portrayed by the
American expedition in 1848, and of which it is said they took a fragment
for a museum at home,--after a good deal of search, we only discovered a
crooked thin spire of rock-salt in one place of the mountain; but it
would not have been very remarkable if many such had been found to exist
in similar circumstances.

It was a place for inducing solemn reflections and intense sensations,
such as one could hardly venture to record at the time of being there, or
endeavour to repeat now after so long an interval.  Much may, however, be
imagined by devout readers of the holy Scriptures--not only as contained
in the records of the Book of Genesis, but also as inculcated with
intense emphasis in the Epistle of Jude in a later period.  Still, there
is a vividness of impression to be derived only from being actually on
the spot, and surveying the huge extent of water that differs from any
other in the world,--placid and bright on its surface, yet awful in its
rocky boundaries.  But where are the cities and their punished
inhabitants, except in the Bible, and the traditions preserved by
Tacitus, the Koran, and by the present inhabitants of the country?

Some morsels of bitumen were found upon the beach; but the principal
season of the year for finding it is in winter, especially at the
commencement of winter, when the lake becomes unusually agitated, and
breaks off masses of it from the bottom, often of very large size--the
peasants of Hebron, with exaggeration, say, "As large as ships;" but I
have seen many camel-loads of it brought up to Jerusalem at a time, for
export to Europe.  It is, however, a monopoly of the crown.

We should note that in Gen. xiv. 10, the district was full of bitumen
pits previous to the overthrow of the cities of the plain.

At twenty minutes to three we came to a rude heap of stones called
_Zoghal_ or _Zoghar_.  This cannot well be Zoar, among other reasons,
because it lies upon the beach, and is not upon an eminence.  It is well
to mention that M. de Saulcy's extravagant ideas of the Pentapolis of
Sodom, etc., had not then been published.

In another quarter of an hour we had reached the extremity of the "Salt
Mountain," with all its distorted, sometimes even perpendicular
stratification.  By this time we were convinced that the whole of the
mountain is not salt, but that a good deal of the upper length of it is a
mixture of salt and marl or sand.  Between it and the water's edge we
frequently saw blocks and spires of rock-salt protruding through the flat

There can be no doubt that the Arabic name, _Usdum_, is identical with
Sodom, by a well-known custom of the language to invert the consonant and
vowel of the first syllable.  But even this is brought back to the
original state in the adjective form.  Thus I heard our guides speak of
the Jebel Sid'mi, meaning the Khash'm or Jebel Usdum, or promontory of

The _Wadi Netheeleh_ comes up from the southwest to the shore at this
northern end of the mountain, parallel to the Wadi Hhuggereh at the
southern end.

We kept along the sea-side, and on rising to a higher level, near five
o'clock, halted for the night at the mouth of a valley where some water
was to be procured, and near us was a broken tower.  This site is named
_Mobugghek_ or _Umm-Bugghek_.  As we were scarcely out of the reach of
the Ghawarineh Arabs, our people had to go out in armed detachments for
collecting firewood.

During the process of pitching the tents, one of our men, named 'Odeh,
perceived a stranger at a great distance, and half stripping himself, ran
nimbly up a steep sand hill, ready for whatever operation might be
necessary.  Our European, I might rather say, our civilised eyes, could
not have discovered the ill-omened object at that distance, but those of
desert Arabs are far more powerful than ours.  I do not know that I shall
ever forget the ardent brilliancy of Shaikh Selameh's eyes at all times,
as witnessed constantly during our excursion.

While we rambled on the beach in search of bitumen or sulphur, we
suddenly heard a furious screaming in the direction of our tents, and
hastily returning, found a number of strangers coming down a winding
path.  Our men were gathered together, and armed.  The captain also
examined the state of his double-barrelled pistols.  However, on their
arrival, the newcomers were recognised as people _not hostile_ to the
Jehaleen, and their general location is near 'Ain 'Aroos.  So, after some
squabbling and arrangement, they agreed to share our supper with us in
peace.  Had the case been otherwise, our position was not an enviable
one; for we were shut in between their hills and the sea, they were more
numerous than our Arabs, and they had entire command of our spring of
water.  Our camels, too, were all unloaded, and the packages scattered on
the ground.

The scenery was desolate and gloomy in the extreme, undoubtedly blasted
by the wrath of Almighty God, although a place which had at one time been
"well watered everywhere . . . even as the garden of the Lord, like the
land of Egypt," (Gen. xiii. 10;) and it required strong faith to expect
the possibility of this "wilderness" (_'Arabah_) being again made "like
Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord," (Isa. li. 3.)  Indeed,
that promise does not seem to apply to this peculiar locality, by
comparing it with Ezek. xlvii. 10, 11, although these unwholesome waters
are to be healed, and are to have fish of various kinds in them, with
fishermen's nets employed there.

It deserves observation, that now the sea is so utterly lifeless that the
American explorers there were unable, by the most powerful microscopes,
to find any animalculae in its water.  Yet Lynch was of opinion that the
atmosphere or vapour there was not in any way prejudicial to human
health; and since then, Mr Holman Hunt spent a considerable time near the
brink without injury derived from it.

The air was very warm all night, with no freshening dew, and the sound of
slow, rippling water on the strand, during the still starlight hours, was
one to which our ears had not been of late accustomed.

The Arab figures and conversation round the watch-fire were romantic
enough.  Thermometer at eight P.M., 90.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

_April_ 10_th_.--Sunrise, Fahrenheit 70.25 degrees.  In taking this last
note of the thermometer at sunrise, I may observe that the marking of it
at that moment gives but a feeble idea of the heat that we experienced
during the days' marches throughout this excursion,--the temperature
rapidly increased after sunrise, and at later hours within the confined
hollows, such as Petra and the basin of the Dead Sea, rose to that of (I
suppose) an Indian climate--but above all the effects of heat was that
produced by the weight of atmospheric pressure at probably the lowest
position in the whole surface of the globe: about 1300 feet below the

Before six o'clock we were on the march, over broken and precipitous
rocky paths, on which the progress was slow and toilsome.  Then down
again upon the beach.  I am sure that if the Dead Sea were already
covering the ground that it now does, before the time of Chedorlaomer,
the "four kings against five" could not possibly have mustered or
manoeuvred their armies on any side or place between the mountains on
each side of the water. {332}  At a quarter past seven the thermometer
stood at 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is always a close, heavy heat in this depressed region, inducing
profuse perspiration.

At ten minutes past nine we were at the spot where the great eastern
peninsula projects nearest to us, having in view the two extremities,
north-east and south-west, now named on the maps, the former as Point
Costigan, after the unfortunate explorer of 1835, and the latter, Point
Molyneux, after my friend, the lieutenant of H.M.S. _Spartan_, who was
there in 1847.  But at that season of the year we could perceive no
traces of the shallow or ford by which the Arabs occasionally pass over
to it on the way to Kerak.

At half-past nine we were in front of _Sebbeh_, with a view of the ruins
of Masada on its summit, to which, however, we did not climb, but
contented ourselves with recalling to memory the heroic events of the
Jewish defenders, as related by Josephus.  Here the sea, retiring towards
our side, forms a semicircular bay, terminating at _'Ain Jidi_,
(Engeddi,) where we arrived at two o'clock.  There we were at a
considerable elevation above the shore, which we now abandoned, not only
because all further advance in that direction is impracticable, but
because our route towards Jerusalem lay in a different direction.

We were upon a platform abounding in springs of water and luxuriant
neglected vegetation.  The pleasure derived from the sound of gushing
streams can only be appreciated by those who have been in our
circumstances.  The contrast is not to be understood merely from words
laid before a reader, between this and the dry wilderness of Edom or the
salt beach of Sodom.  One of our camels not only drank his fill, but
rolled himself in the water.

There were some neb'k trees, some trees of the _'osher_, (apple of
Sodom,) and some of the shrub _solanum melongena_, all of which may be
found near Jericho, though not peculiar to that region.  Canes and large
weeds almost filled the watercourses, but not a blossom of any
wild-flower could I find upon the ground.

The streams abound in petrifactions of vegetation, which would show that
the water cannot be very wholesome for drinking.  A monster crab was
brought us out of a channel; my horse in drinking had been startled at
the sight of it.

There were traces of buildings about the place, such as foundations of
walls almost razed to the ground, and one broken tower.

But the prospect eastwards, including the peninsula, and the mountains
and huge crevasses of Moab, or southwards, including Sebbeh and the Salt
mountain, are magnificent beyond expression.  We could not be sure that
Mount Hor was distinguishable.  At a quarter past three, and under shade
of trees, the thermometer was at 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

After considerable repose and some feeding there, we prepared for the
remaining ascent, called by our people "The Ladder of _Terabeh_."  This
was a very toilsome climbing of near two hours up a nearly perpendicular
cliff, by means of curves and zigzags turning away four or five yards.
Most of the way we were dismounted, but still the horses and camels were
greatly distressed by the effort of the ascent.  At first the
camel-drivers sang to cheer their animals.  This, however, dwindled into
occasional prolonged notes, which again were deteriorated into groans
instead of music.

It was a curious sight for us who were untroubled with the care of
camels, and consequently getting on faster than they, to look down upon
the wavy lines of moving creatures, and hear the echoes of their voices
from below.

Reached the summit at half-past four, and after an hour's progress upon
level ground, we halted for the night.  Poor old Selameh fell down flat,
not so much from the effect of mere fatigue, as from having had his ankle
bitten by a spiteful camel in the morning, and then the long climbing in

This was to be our last night together, and we enjoyed to the utmost the
social gathering round the bivouac fire with our Arab companions, to
whom, after ten days association, to the exclusion of all the rest of the
world, we could not but feel something of temporary personal attachment.
There was Selameh, with his mended shoe and his bitten ankle, who had
been our officer and diplomatist, ready for fun or a row at any minute;
'Odeh the champion, called out upon emergencies; Khamees, the slave boy,
a general domestic, if this latter word may be allowed for a Bedawi Arab;
and Salem the merry-man, short in stature, and drawing into the vale of
years.  We chatted over the fire about the events of the expedition,
while some of the men were kneading and baking fresh bread upon stones
made hot in the fire.

Yet this is a sad aimless life that such people lead--of course our
excursion under their protection was an event to supply matter for many a
conversation afterwards.

As for religion: they seem to have little or no sense of its
responsibility or benefit, or even its formalities.  I asked Selameh
about prayers or reading, and all he had to say was that annually in
Ramadan they hire a reader from some mosque of a town to come and read
the Koran to them; but not one, not even Abu Dahook could read for
himself.  I never heard these Jehaleen mention either the word _Moslem_
or _Ghiaour_, much less the technical words _Mushrakeen_ or _Seerat el
Mustakeem_.  Thermometer at sunset, 79.25 degrees Fahrenheit.

_April_ 11_th_.--Our camels were loaded for the last time, as usual
grunting, groaning, and tossing the head backwards while the burdens were
placed upon them, and, as must be known to all desert travellers, the
smell exhaled from these animals after a long journey is particularly

We were marching forward at half-past five, and in an hour and a half we
caught a distant view of our old familiar Frank mountain, which was lost
again afterwards.  About ten o'clock, we saw in a valley at our left an
encampment of Sair Arabs; and soon afterwards in a valley at our right, a
circle of the Ta'amri tents.  In another hour we arrived at a square
enclosure of very large ancient stones, which was denominated _'Arkoob
Sahaba_.  The breezes on this high land were most refreshing after our
southern excursion.

Passed _Thekua'_ or Tekua', (Tekoa,) and at some distance forwards, to
the north-east, some ruins called _Abu'n-jaib_, or perhaps Abu N'jaim.

Then we approached the well-remembered fragrance of the wild herbs on the
uncultivated hills about Urtas and Bethlehem, redolent of homeward
associations, and between two and three o'clock were at Jerusalem,
grateful for special and numerous mercies of Divine Providence.

Jewish friends were much interested in my report of Aaron's tomb on Mount
Hor, and regarded it as a great achievement to have visited and returned
from "Joktheel," as they called Petra, in compliance with 2 Kings xiv. 7,
where King Amaziah restored its more ancient name from _Selah_, (see
Joshua xv. 38.)

                                * * * * *

In conclusion of this expedition to Petra, I have a few observations to
make, arising from local peculiarities connected with it.

A.  _On the payment of toll_, _or Ghuf'r_, _as it is termed_, _for
traversing unfrequented districts_.

Of course, this custom could never obtain in a country enjoying the
benefits of a vigorous central government; but it is, and perhaps always
has been, common in the far East.  In Persia or Tartary, wherever a chief
is able to lay hold of a tower, and collect around him a band of
followers, he invariably exacts this tribute from strangers; just as in
our middle ages of Europe was done by the same class of persons in
countries where feudal institutions prevailed.  The petty barons were the
shaikhs of their place and period.

But some considerations may serve to show that there is, after all,
something useful in the practice.

1.  In such countries, the payment of this toll exempts the traveller
from the violence of all other claimants.

2.  Those who get the toll, (I speak now of Palestine,) are always ready
to perform small services in return, which would be assuredly missed if
omitted, independently of the price paid for hire of camels.

3.  If there were a better government existing, the traveller would
expect that government to provide good roads and bridges, and to
establish military posts for guarding them.  This expense would be
defrayed from tolls, or some such mode of taxation, and so the fee or
duty would be only removed from one receiver to another.  This is done at
present, and probably has been for many centuries, at the _Jis'r benat
Ya'koob_, between Safed and Damascus.

One cannot be surprised at the peasantry of Wadi Moosa exacting a toll
from travellers on entering the valley of Petra, to see the wonders of
antiquity which are attracting the attention of the most remote nations;
remembering, too, the position of the place, viz., in a hollow,
surrounded by crags and hills, where no Turkish rulers have ever been.

In like manner, we shall only be in a condition to remonstrate on paying
ghuf'r in the shape of presents to the Adwan beyond Jordan, when we are
able to find our way to Amman and Jerash without them, or to keep off the
Beni Sukh'r and 'Anezeh, either by our own right hand or by means of the
Turks. {339}

Finally, it must be borne in mind that the Turkish government itself pays
ghuf'r to the Eastern Bedaween for allowing the Hadj pilgrims to pass
from Damascus to Mecca.

B.  _On the Fellahheen_, _or peasants of Wadi Moosa_.

The most experienced travellers that have visited Petra, have remarked
that these men are of a different race from the Bedaween Arabs around
them.  They are ugly, bad in expression of countenance, and have a
reputation for cruelty and treachery.

Laborde says, that the Alaween looked upon them "with contempt _and
fear_."  Lord Lindsay says, that Shaikh Hhussain, from 'Akabah, "was _in
fear_ all the time of being there."  Irby and Mangles were told by the
Jehaleen that these Fellahheen murdered thirty Moslem pilgrims from
Barbary, the year before their visit.

Dr Wilson stayed among them longer, I believe, than any other European,
and he did not like them, yet found them gradually improve under civil
treatment, which always, like some other things,

    "Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros."

He divides them into two classes as cultivators of land.  First, Those
residing in a village called _Eljy_; and, second, Those residing in tents
under one Abu Zeitoon.

He describes them as a very exclusive people, never intermarrying with
Arabs, nor burying in common grounds with them; and having a different
set of personal names among them from those used by Arabs, which names
greatly resemble those found in the Old Testament Scriptures.

He concludes that they are descendants of the ancient Edomites.

A most remarkable circumstance that he observed, was their calling
themselves children of Israel, (Beni Israin.)  This he regards as a
feeble traditional reminiscence of their proselytism to the faith of
Israel by the sword of the Maccabaean conquerors.

For my own part, I distinctly aver that during the altercation upon my
arrival there, between them and my Jehaleen, I did hear the words
"children of Israel" used.  I had not chosen to take a part in the
conference, or to remain long at a time among the disputants, but only
passed occasionally in and out of the tent, and my mind was chiefly
engrossed with the subject-matter in hand, so that on hearing the words,
"children of Israel," I thought they were alluding to some history or
tradition of the Hebrew people.  But afterwards, on connecting the fact
with Dr Wilson's assertion, I cannot but consider it very remarkable.

But the whole subject of these Fellahheen seems to merit closer attention
from those who have the leisure and opportunity for it.

I know that numerous travellers, including ladies, have been there in
safety; and it is probable that some of the disputes which have arisen
were occasioned either through ignorance, or from insolence of the
dragomans.  It would be interesting to compare the accounts of those who
have suffered annoyances in Petra, so as to ascertain how far the
Fellahheen were to blame, or whether difficulties are not rather due to
the Arab tribes who are in the habit of tyrannising over the Fellahheen
from the outside.

C.  _On the 'Arabah and the Dead Sea_.

While on the spot, I had wished to believe in the theory of Leake in
1822, and afterwards turned almost into poetry by Lord Lindsay,
notwithstanding the demonstrations of Bertou in 1838, and of the American
expedition of 1848, namely, that the Jordan formerly flowed the whole
length from the Anti-Lebanon to the Red Sea, and that the Asphaltite
Lake, or Dead Sea, is only formed by a stoppage of its stream.

Two facts, however, which militate against this theory, were visible to
our eyes on this journey.

1.  That the valleys south of the Dead Sea all point towards it, and
incline the slope of their beds in that direction.  This was most
particularly the case with the Wadi el Jaib, where the banks between
which the torrents had cut a channel became higher, which is equivalent
to saying that the water fell lower as it passed northwards.

2.  That wherever there were trees or shrubs to arrest the currents of
water, we found that all the rushes, thorns, or reeds carried on by the
streams, were arrested on the south side of those trees, and there they
remained in the dry season.

The course of the torrents was therefore from the south, towards the Dead

The best dissertation on the relative levels of lands and seas, bearing
on this subject, and that which I believe to be exhaustive on the
subject, till we get more of scientific realities, is contained in vol.
xviii., part 2, of the Royal Geographical Society's Journal of 1848.

Still, allowing the facts that I myself observed, as well as all the
scientific calculations in the Journal above referred to, (indeed, making
use of them,) there seem to remain certain considerations undisposed of,
in favour of the theory that the Jordan formerly ran into the Red Sea.

1.  The 'Arabah, south of the Dead Sea, and the Ghor on its north, are
one continued hollow between the same parallel lines of hills; and
Robinson has shown that by the Arabian geographers they are both called
the 'Arabah; the native Arabs also still call by the name of Ghuwair, or
little Ghor, a space at the southern extremity of the water.

In the Hebrew Bible also, the northern part is called 'Arabah, as in
Joshua iii. 16, where it is said the Israelites crossed "the sea of
'Arabah, namely, the sea of salt."  In 2 Sam. iv. 7, the murderers of
Ish-bosheth went all night from Mahanaim to Hebron along the 'Arabah,
this was clearly not south of the Dead Sea.  Josh. xii. i., "From the
river Arnon to mount Hermon, and all the 'Arabah on the east," going
northwards; this is explained in the 3d verse as "the 'Arabah, (beginning
at Hermon,) unto the sea of Chinnereth, (sea of Tiberias) on the east,
and unto the sea of the 'Arabah, the sea of salt, on the east."  The same
words occur also in Deut. iii. 17, and iv. 49.  That the present Arab
'Arabah on the south of the Dead Sea bore the same name, may be seen in
Deut. ii. 8, where Moses speaks of "the way of the ''Arabah' from Elath,
and from Ezion-gaber."

Therefore, according to Hebrew and Arabic authorities, the 'Arabah and
Ghor form one line from the Lebanon to the Red Sea.

2.  The Book of Job takes cognisance of the river Jordan, and describes
river scenery in the land of Edom, _i.e._, south of the Dead Sea.

3.  No lake existed in that locality before the catastrophe of Sodom,
although a river may have traversed it.  This I deduce from the march of
the army of Chedorlaomer, shortly previous to that catastrophe, (Gen.
xiv.)  After the taking of Seir and Paran, he crossed the valley to
Hazezon-Tamar, which is Engedi, (2 Chron. xx. 2,) and the confederates
were met by the kings of the plain in the vale of Siddim.  And I have
heretofore shown that this is utterly impossible to be done with the
present lake in the way.  The words, therefore, of Gen. xiv. 3 obviously
signify, as given in the Latin Vulgate and in Luther's German, "the vale
of Siddim, which is _now_ the Salt Sea."

The inference from all these points is, that between the time of
Chedorlaomer and Moses, some tellural convulsions took place which
impeded the course of the river towards the Dead Sea, and thereby formed
the present lake.  There is no mention of a river in the lower 'Arabah
during the wanderings of the Israelites under the leading of Moses.

It is another matter to discuss whether the overthrow of the guilty
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is connected with that convulsion of nature,
with or without miracle, which formed the depression of the great valley;
yet it is remarkable that the deepest part of the lake is at the spot
which tradition has always pointed out for the site of those cities, and
nigh to the salt mountain, which still bears the name of Sodom.

To this spot the slopes both ways tend, and there they meet.  Calculating
the whole line of depression, as Petermann does, at 190 miles, the slope
from the north, _i.e._, from the "Bridge of the daughters of Jacob," near
Safed, is comparatively gradual for 140 miles; and that from the south,
_i.e._, from the elevation in the southern 'Arabah, where the level meets
again from the north, is more precipitous for 50 miles.  Action and
reaction being equal in natural effects, the rapid declivity in the
shorter distance is equal to the more gradual declivity in the longer

But that centre of _seismal action_ is taken for the site of Sodom--hence
the site of the destruction of Sodom and the starting point of earthquake
are the same.  The record of the destruction is, therefore, the record of
some dreadful convulsion capable of stopping the Jordan, so as to form a
lake there; and the only _adequate_ cause in nature assigned by
geologists for such a depression, is earthquake accompanied by volcanic

While on the subject of possible depression of the Jordan bed, I may
mention an indication which I have often pointed out to others, namely,
the remarkable ledge traceable along the face of the Moab mountains at a
considerable height, as seen from the neighbourhood of Jerusalem.  It is
distinctly marked, and forms a curious record of some natural change
having occurred on a large scale.

Dr Wilson, in his "Lands of the Bible," contends that an earthquake
capable of depressing a straight line of the length of the Ghor and
'Arabah, must have convulsed all the lands of Canaan, Moab, Ammon, Edom,
and the Desert, with their inhabitants; but that no such convulsion took
place, for Zoar on the east, and Hebron on the west, are known to have

Does it, however, necessarily follow that seismal devastation spreads in
_every_ direction?  On the contrary, earthquakes act in oscillations from
east to west, returning from west to east; or from north to south,
returning from south to north: but not in the manner of a flood of water
spreading in every direction at once.  If so, a mighty earthquake,
extending along the whole Ghor and 'Arabah, would be exactly such a cause
as might spare a city on each side of its progress.

The whole subject still admits of much careful investigation on sundry
points; but, meanwhile, until geologists have given us more data from
which to form conclusions, I must take my stand upon the distinct record
of Genesis; that what was the Salt Sea when Moses wrote, had been the
Vale or Plain (Emek) of Siddim, containing cities with kings, who fought
and were subdued by Chedarlaomer upon that plain in the time of Abraham;
and that those cities were the same as those that were penally destroyed
soon after.


I have traversed the Lebanon eastwards and southwards of Bayroot several
times; once in 1849; again in 1853; and also in 1855: but it seems
advisable to narrate the incidents separately, and although on two
occasions I passed over nearly the same ground, it will be curious to
compare or contrast those journeys, inasmuch as the circumstances were

PART I.--1849.

The course of the first journey was as follows:--From Sidon on the
sea-coast we gradually climbed the Lebanon range eastward; then
descending by tortuous roads, and turning somewhat to the south, we
crossed to where Hhasbeya lies at the foot of Anti-Lebanon; after which
we followed the general direction of the streams southwards, and uniting
above the waters of Merom form the Jordan.  Holding on at the western
side of the plain we arrived at Safed in Galilee.

_Oct._ 25_th_.--We left Saida for Joon, which had been for many years the
residence of Lady Hester Stanhope, and the vice-consul furnished us with
a kawwas who had been a servant of her ladyship.

Turned off from the high road of the sea-coast, at the river Awali, which
is believed by the native Christians to have been the limit of our Lord's
ministry on earth, when it is said that He went into "the coasts of Tyre
and Sidon."

We outflanked the rich scene of fruit plantations belonging to the town,
but picked blackberries, hips, and haws, from their hedges alongside the
runnels of water which supply those gardens.

On its approach to the sea the river Awali has two separate channels,
along either of which it flows in different years, according to the
volume of water at the beginning of winter, but never in both at the same

Through lovely scenery we gradually mounted higher and higher, till
arriving at the village of _Joon_, where rooms were to be prepared for us
in a native house.

The nature of the district thereabout is that of numerous round hills,
separated from each other by deep valleys.  On one of these hills stands
the village, on another the large "Convent of the Saviour," (Dair el
Mokhallis,) which is the central station of the Greek Catholic sect;
_i.e._, of those who, while retaining their Oriental rites and calendar,
acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope of Rome; and on the third hill is
Lady Hester Stanhope's house, the three forming the points of nearly an
equilateral triangle.  The village commands a fine prospect of the

Without dismounting, we proceeded at once to the desolate house of Lady
Hester, but, owing to the precipitous nature of the ground, it takes some
considerable time to reach it, yet voices are easily distinguishable from
one place to the other.

The house presents a melancholy spectacle, though, from the purity of the
atmosphere, the walls appear clean and almost new; no roof remains, all
timbers having been purposely removed immediately after her death,
according to legal right of the proprietor from whom the place was
rented.  There has been an extensive suite of rooms, not adapted to
stateliness, but meant for the reception of guests; these are all of
small dimensions, and were mostly built by Lady Hester.  We were told
that she kept an establishment of a hundred servants, forty of whom were
women.  For the last five years she never travelled beyond the garden,
and during that time the renowned two mares, Leilah and Lulu, (the former
of which was the one with the hollow back, reserved for entering
Jerusalem together with the new Messiah,) became so broken in health for
want of exercise, that when Lady Hester died, they were sold with
difficulty for 300 piastres (less than three pounds) each.

The stables still remaining were very extensive.

The gardens and terraces must have been beautiful, for we were told they
were carefully kept and arranged.  We saw large myrtle shrubs in
abundance, besides fruit trees now utterly neglected--

    "And still where many a garden flower grows wild,"

for there were red roses blooming without the least care or notice.

No one now resides on any part of that hill.

The eccentric lady is buried in the garden, and in the same grave (we
were assured) with Captain, son of General Loustaneau, a crazy French
enthusiast who lived for above twenty-five years a pensioner on her
bounty.  The grave is covered with this simple stone monument, of a
pattern very common in the country.

                 [Picture: Tomb of Lady Hester Stanhope]

At the distance of a few yards is the monument over a former Moslem
proprietor of the house.

Lady Hester died in June 1839, lonely and miserable, and so ended her
wild dreams and fancied importance.  During her long residence there she
had meddled in local dissensions, patronising the Jonblats of Mokhtarah
against the Ameer Besheer and the Egyptian invaders; she kept spies in
the principal towns, as Acre and Saida, and had even supplied ammunition
to the citadel of Acre for the Turks, but did not live to see the
Egyptians ousted from the country.

There was good deal of exaggeration afloat at the time respecting her and
some of her habits of life, though scarcely more extraordinary than the
reality of other matters, as we are now able to judge of them; but at
that period Syria and the Lebanon were very little understood in Europe,
_i.e._, from 1823 to 1839.  She was not so utterly removed from human
society as is often supposed.  She was not perched like an eagle on an
inaccessible mountain, for there are villages near, besides the great
Convent of Mokhallis, and she had constant communication with Saida for
money and provisions.

The view around is indeed stern and cheerless in character, devoid of
romantic accessories, without the rippling streams, the pines or the
poplars of either Mokhtarah or Beteddeen; her hill like its neighbours
was a lump of stone, with some scanty cultivation in the valley below,
very little of this, and her small garden attached to the dwelling.

Before leaving this subject, I may as well state with respect to the
common belief of Lady Hester being crowned Queen of Palmyra by the desert
Arabs, that from information which I consider reliable this is all a
mistake, or as it was expressed to me, a "French enthusiasm," the truth
being that in consequence of her lavish largesses among the wild people,
they expressed their joy by acclamations in which they compared her to
the "Queen of Sheba" who had come among them; and then by her flatterers,
or those who were unskilled in the language, the term "Melekeh" (Queen)
was interpreted as above: and as for a coronation the Arab tribes have no
such a custom; the greatest chiefs, nay, even the kings of the settled
Arabs, such as Mohammed and his successors, have never received such an

Returning to the village, we found our lodging provided in the house of a
Greek Catholic family; unlike to our south country houses, it was built
with ponderous rafters of timber in the roofs, and these rafters and
planks between them are painted in coloured patterns.  It was a cheerful
scene as the family sat inquiring about Jerusalem, or chatting otherwise
on the mustabeh (a wide stone seat) outside, with the effulgence of the
setting sun reflected on the convent before us, and then the twilight
pink and violet tints upon the mountain-range behind.

Then again in the early morning, how delicious were the air and the
scenery of the mountains!

       "Yet sluggards deem it but a foolish chase
       And marvel men should quit their easy chair,
       The weary mile and long, long league to trace;
       Oh, there is sweetness in the mountain air,
    And life that bloated ease may never hope to share!"

While mounting for the departure, our host pressing his hospitality upon
us, adjured us in these words:--"May your religion be your adversary if
ever you pass my door without entering it."

Arriving at Dair el Mokhallis we were there also received with
cordiality.  In the church a service was going on, gabbled over by a
priest arrayed in white silk and gold, waving incense before the altar,
his congregation consisting of one person, a sort of sacristan or beadle.
There were some good pictures on the walls, but others together with them
of degraded rank as works of art.

On being invited to visit the President, we found him a jovial, handsome
man of middle age, reclining on cushions at a large window with wide
views of the sea and the mountains before him, besides _Dar Joon_, Lady
Hester's house.

This establishment is not only the largest convent and church of the
Greek Catholic sect, but also a college for clerical education; their
most celebrated clergy have been trained there.  The inmates at this
time, of all employments, were 110 in number, exclusive of servants.
Those whom we saw appeared very well fed, and we were not a little
surprised to find so many women servants employed within the walls.

A nunnery of the same rite, and rules of St Basil, with forty persons
under vows, is a good building at half-a-mile distance, between which and
the male institution a very excellent road has been made, notwithstanding
the hilly nature of the ground; other roads are being improved, and all
the contiguous grounds are in a state of the highest cultivation.

As we proceeded on our journey, the scenery became more and more
romantic, till on a sudden turn of the road a wondrous picture of nature
was opened before us, consisting of mountains, including our own, all
sloping down into a plain in which was a river, and a village with its
orchards and poplars; cascades rolled down the furrowed sides of these
hills, their bounding and dashing were evident to the sight, but no sound
audible owing to their distance; it was a fairy scene, or like a
beautiful dream.

In the descent we passed a Maronite priest riding, attended by a guide on
foot; the former was greeted by our party with his title of Abuna, a
novelty to us Jerusalemites.

We forded the river _Barook_, a tributary to the Awali, in front of the
above-mentioned village, which is _Bisrah_, amid tall poplars quivering
in the breeze, for their foliage had stalks long like the aspen.

Our luggage having gone on during the visit to the convent, we could get
no tidings of it and our people, but a guide was procured for part of the
day's journey before us; and we betook ourselves to a hill over which
was, what we were assured, the only road to Hhasbeya.  A road so steep
and thickly entangled by bushes and trees, that we inquired of every
passer-by in his turn whether we could possibly be upon the _Sultaneh_,
or high road.  At first through an olive plantation, then among evergreen
oak, and higher still the fragrant mountain pines.  The zigzags of the
road were necessarily so short and abrupt, that at each turn we had to
peer up perpendicularly, guessing which way the next twist would go.
Then still higher, towards the frowning sombre cliffs that seemed to
touch the brilliant blue sky, the arbutus glowed with their scarlet
berries, and the pine-trees became more tall, straight, and numerous.  No
wonder that the Assyrian king, when he boasted of being able to cut down
the cedars of Lebanon, included also "the choice fir-trees thereof," (2
Kings xix. 23.)

Near what seemed to be the climax, we unexpectedly reached a village,
named _'Azoor_, where a school of boys hummed their lessons in the open
air on the shady side of a house; and near them a plank of wood was
suspended, such as serves for a church-bell in parts of the country where
the Moslems predominate, and bells are not tolerated.  Here in the
Lebanon every village and convent may have its bells; and they generally
have them, for the Mohammedans scarcely exist throughout "the mountain,"
as the whole range is popularly termed from Tarabulus to Saida.

The higher we ascended, the more we obtained of a brisk breeze playing
and sighing musically among the noble pines, and the ground was clothed
with heather and fragrant herbs.  Still onwards, "excelsior," the pines
were more straight and lofty; there were patches of wild myrtle on the
ground, some in white blossom; and we looked down upon the flat roofs of
villages below, an appearance so strange to us after the round domes of
the south country.

About noon we overtook the luggage, and the servant-boy of the muleteer
swore that his head had turned gray since we left him, four hours ago, by
reason of the bodily labour and anguish of mind that he had suffered on
so fearful a road.  He was incessantly calling upon God by epithets out
of the Koran, as "O thou Father of bounty!"  "O thou knower of former
things!" mingled with curses hurled at the mule, or prayers that her back
might be strengthened: being a Jerusalemite, he had not been accustomed
to travelling of that description.  This youth was nicknamed by his
fellows as _Abu Tabanjah_, "the father of a pistol," from his carrying a
single pistol in his girdle: it being unusual for persons in his
employment to carry any belligerent weapons.

Next came the descent to _Jezzeen_, over a slippery road, with purple
crocuses in blossom at intervals.

Jezzeen is romantically situated among broken rocks, with a stream of
water, called the _Zaid_, bordered by a profusion of sycamore, (_i.e._,
what is called so in England, a variety of the plane-tree,) walnut, and
aspen trees.  We halted beneath a spreading walnut-tree, whose leaves had
already begun to change colour.

The inhabitants are Greek Catholic, Maronite, and a few Mutawaleh.  Here
we had to get another guide for an hour or two forwards--a task not
easily accomplished--and he assured us that the road before us was far
worse than that we had already traversed--he would on no account go the
whole day's journey with us.

Forwards.--Thin white clouds were resting upon the peaks high above us,
the vine terraces and poplars were succeeded by whitish-gray rocks and
olive-trees, till we issued upon a comparative level of confused chaos of
rugged rocks pitched and hurled about in the most fantastic combinations,
rendering the road almost impassable for our cattle.  Darker clouds than
before were around, but not immediately over us; and the atmosphere was
hot like the breath of a furnace, with now and then a momentary gush of
piercing cold coming between sharp peaks and round summits.

In little more than two hours from Jezzeen we were at _Cuf'r Hooneh_, a
pretty village surrounded by sycamore, walnut, poplar, and vineyards,
with numerous running streams of water, bordered by oleanders in rosy
blossom, very tall--girt in with romantic precipices, and rooks were
cawing overhead.  A spring of water issuing from the ground, of which we
drank, was cold like ice.

After this the road improved, the rocks were more friable, and were often
streaked with pink and yellow colour; indicating, I suppose, the
existence of copper mineral, (see Deut. viii. 9,) "out of whose hills
thou mayest dig brass," _i.e._, copper.

All about this region fossil shells were numerous.

In half an hour we attained our greatest elevation, with a long line of
Mediterranean visible in the west.  The Anti-Lebanon stretched before us
on the east, and among the hills to the south our guide declared he could
distinguish Safed.  Here he left us, returning homewards.

Upon this eminence the air was reviving, and as the fervour of the sun
abated, our horses recovered energy.  Thence we descended to a green
level space as void of inhabitants as the wild scenes that we had
traversed; and from that to a stage lower, over a very long fertile plain
running southwards, where we fell in with two or three of our fellow
human beings, and over this the wind blew very cold.  Forwards into
another level, a glen of wild verdure, then through chalk fissures and
red slopes, till in a moment there burst upon our view a prospect beyond
all power of description in words; Mount Hermon, (Jebel esh Shaikh,) and
the intervening long plain, also the Litani river on our right, winding
between tremendous cliffs, and passing the castle of Shukeef towards the

That river passing the foot of our mountain, and over which we had
afterwards to cross, appeared like a narrow ribbon of pale green, so
silent was it to us, for no sound from that depth could reach up so high;
to this we had to descend by a precipitous path of zigzags roughly made
in the face of the hill.

Half way down I first distinguished the rushing sound of the water; a
flock of goats upon its margin resembled mere black spots, but the bells
among them became faintly audible.

On reaching the river Litani, (the classic Leontes, and named the
"Kasimiyeh" when debouching to the sea near Tyre,) we found it to be a
strong stream, and the dark border, which from a distance had seemed to
be low bushes, were in truth gigantic and numerous trees; on our way to
the bridge, along the river side for some distance, were parapets erected
for the safety of travellers and flocks of cattle.

It was after sunset, but we rested awhile to stretch our limbs after the
cramp brought on by the steep and long descent.

The moon was shining as we crossed the bridge, and its light was broken
in the heady dashing of the stream; the land swelled gradually upwards as
we proceeded S.-E. till we passed a ridge and turned N.-E. to the village
of _Cocaba_ on the great plain, which has the river _Hhasbani_ flowing
through it, from which village we got directions how to find Hhasbeya.
Thoroughly tired as we all were, the rest of the way was most wearisome,
though not so much so as it would have been in the heat of day, after so
many hours on horseback.  The night was bright and clear.

Reached _Hhasbeya_ in thirteen hours from Joon in the morning.

The town is perched up in the line of the Anti-Lebanon, at the end of a
_cul-de-sac_ running inwards from the plain, and stands at an elevation
of more than 2000 feet above the sea-level, though this is scarcely
apparent by reason of the lofty mountains everywhere around, especially
Hermon, under the shadow of which Hhasbeya is nestled.  This was the
cleanest town and the one in best repair at that time that I had hitherto
seen in Palestine or Syria; what it may be since the calamities of 1860,
I know not.  The majority of the inhabitants were Christian, with a good
many Druses, and a few Moslems and Jews.

We had a most friendly reception from the native Protestants, and from
the governor, Ameer Saad ed Deen Shehab and his family.

In the afternoon of the next day we passed on to _Banias_.  How different
a matter is travelling in that country from merely drawing a pencil line
across the map from one point to another, and measuring the distance of
that line.  By such a method of making a journey it is but a trifle of
thirty miles from Soor to Hhasbeya, and less than a hundred and twenty
from the latter to Jerusalem.  (I mention these places because they
belong to the journey here described,) and it may be said by stay-at-home
travellers in a carpeted saloon, at a mahogany table, that these
distances can be covered on horseback in a determinate number of hours,
allowing so many miles to an hour; but Palestine is not so smooth as the
greater part of England, and the ways (one cannot well call them roads)
are not drawn in direct lines; climate also counts for something; and
unforeseen incidents will occur to mar the plans of even those habituated
to the country.

To-day's progress, however, was tolerably plain, though not level, and it
occupied six or seven hours.

In an hour and a half we caught first sight of the lake _Hhooleh_ (the
Semechonitis of Josephus) in the due south, and at this point we entered
upon a district strewn with volcanic basalt, in dark-brown pieces, porous
and rounded at the edges.  A peasant directed us forwards to the _Tell el
Kadi_, which at length we reached--an eminence rising from the plain, out
of which issues a river all formed at once, gushing from the hill over a
stony bed.  This is one of the heads of the Jordan, and the place is that
of _Dan_, which Josephus erroneously supposed to supply the last syllable
of that river's name.

But beyond all question it is the site of the city Dan known throughout
Scripture history for many ages, and under a variety of circumstances:
among the rest for the forcible invasion of it by a number of colonists
from the tribe of Dan in the south of Palestine, where they found their
allotted district too strait for their possession; and being established
here, they gave the city the name of their patriarchal chief.

That history of their migration reads with peculiar interest and force on
the spot, and strange to say that Tell el Kadi seems to retain their
tribal name, inasmuch as _Tell_ signifies "a hill," and Kadi is but the
Arabic for the Hebrew word _Dan_, "a judge," (Gen. xlix. 16.)  It is not
however common, very much the contrary, for names to be transmitted in
this way according to their signification through the lapse of ages--they
are usually perpetuated through their orthography.

The Amorite or Sidonian people living here "at ease" were worshippers of
Baal and Ashtaroth, or Astarte.  Suddenly they were assailed by the
Danites, who "smote them with the edge of the sword, and burned their
city with fire;" and the newcomers set up "the graven image, and the
molten image, and the teraphim," which they had stolen on their way
thither over Mount Ephraim, appointing the young Levite, the owner of the
images, to be priest of their idolatry.  In later times it was a station
of the golden calf of Jeroboam's institution, that is to say, the revived
emblem of Baal, going back to the practice of the Leshemites; and there
is yet an idea prevailing in our days that the Druses of the
neighbourhood retain that emblem or idol among them--a remarkable
instance of the perpetuity of idolatry, and one form of idolatry under
different names, modified only by circumstances in the same locality.  I
forbear to pursue further the reflections that can be evolved at large
from that idea, as they might bring us into other countries than Syria or

Riding our horses up the full stream for a short distance, we forded it,
and entered into the shade upon the hill, where we reposed under a large
evergreen oak, decorated with rags as votive offerings to an Arab shaikh
buried beside it.  Near this tree is an extraordinary jungle of brambles
and gigantic flowering shrubs, through which it seemed impossible to
penetrate, but out of which tangled mass the copious stream issues, as
also a minor current, which after some deflection meets the other, and
forms one stream on leaving the hill, and this, when joined by the waters
of Banias, to which we were now going, combines into one river, Jordan,
then enters and passes through the Lake Hhooleh.  For the present I omit
the consideration of the Hhasbani and its spring, which not only helps to
form the Jordan, but actually commences further beyond the springs of Dan
and Banias.

It wanted about an hour to sunset when we turned in eastwards, round the
foot of old Hermon, for _Banias_, the Caesarea Philippi of the New
Testament, whose hill and ancient castle appeared not far distant.

We observed numerous small runlets of water flowing from the north and
east towards the Tell el Kadi, one especially of nearly four feet wide.
Yet with all these blessings the district is mostly neglected, and
abandoned to a sparse population of wretched Ghawarineh Arabs and their

We passed through neb'k trees and stunted oaks, some karoobah trees and
sumach about twenty feet high, with their red berries, besides myrtles
almost as lofty.  Signs of the existence of inhabitants appeared in
patches of cultivation and an occasional flock of goats.  Trees became
closer together than at first, and at length Banias stood in face of us,
touching the foot of Hermon, which formed a magnificent background of
receding heights, but its summit withdrawn from view at that position.
An ancient castle crowns a high peak rising above the village, and which
for grandeur of situation and noble aspect is unsurpassed by any ruin
that I have seen in Syria.  Yet how small was all this in comparison with
the mighty mass at its back!  I regret the having been unable to examine
this remarkable fortress, the modern name of which is the _Kula'at es

The halt was in an olive plantation, and while the tents were being
raised, I rode forwards to the other celebrated source of the Jordan,
namely, that issuing from the cavern, and drank of its water, but first
had to swim the horse through a strong current.

How beautiful was the evening scene of rocks, trees, blue mountains, and
the extended plain, with the thread of the Hhasbani winding through it on
the western side!  There were also herds of cattle coming in, and a
shepherd boy playing his rural pipes.  What a scene for Poussin!  I
offered to buy the Pandean pipe (of several reeds joined laterally) from
the boy, wishing to have it for my own, obtained at the mythological home
of Pan himself--

    "Pan primus calamos cera conjungere plures

but the lad asked an exorbitant price for it, and strode away.

Then rushed up to make use of the fading twilight for catching at least a
glimpse of the Greek inscriptions and Pan's grotto, from which the river
issues, not in infantile weakness, but boldly striking an echo against
the sides of the natural cavity.

"Great Pan is dead!" as the superstitious peasants of Thessaly said, when
they imagined they heard the echo formed into words, sixteen hundred
years ago; and while musing on the "rise and fall" of the classic
idolatry, a bat flew past me out of the grotto, but I saw no moles for
the old idols to be thrown to, (Isa. ii. 20.)

Pan was the mythological deity presiding over caverns, woods, and
streams, from whom this place received its denomination of Panion or
Paneas in Greek, or Panium in Latin; and the word Paneas becomes Banias
in Arabic, as it is at this day.  Here costly temples and altars were
raised, and Herod built a temple in honour of Augustus Caesar.  These
edifices have fallen to the ground, the idols have been demolished by
early Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans; but niches with pedestals, on
which the dumb figures stood, accompanied by inscriptions, still remain
in attestation of written history.

Of these inscriptions I took copies next morning, as others have also
done, but with special pains to insure accuracy.  Every one of them has
the name of the god Pan; two of them have the name of Agrippa; one is set
up by a priest of Pan, "for the welfare of the lords the emperors;" and
another is dedicated by Agrippa, son of Marcus, who had been for eight
years Archon, and had been admonished in a dream by the god Pan.  The
breaks in the words caused by defaced letters make it difficult to get
more signification out of them.

Some further remarks on the same, as well as copies of the tablets, will
be found in appendix B.

In a field near our tents, were two prostrate granite columns of about
fifteen feet length of shaft by two in diameter; besides a piece of
column of common stone three feet in diameter.  In another part of the
same field was a square capital of pilaster with some plain moulding, and
an abundance of squared stones of two to three feet dimensions; such,
however, are to be seen scattered in every direction around.

A small ancient bridge crosses one of the several streams branching away
from the main course, and all running between steep banks.  By this
bridge I approached a noble gateway, leading into a very large square
fortress, with strong ancient towers at each corner.  The arches of both
gate and bridge were Roman; parts of the walls remained in their regular
courses, and numerous large rabbeted stones were rolled down in disorder
upon the slope and into a military trench.  But the whole scene, whether
of rugged rocks or of the work of man, was fringed and clothed with
brambles, ferns, evergreens, and the rosy oleander.

The principal charm, however, belongs to the grotto with the river which
it discharges--the site of which may be described as a semicircular
termination of a valley on a natural platform half way up a cliff--the
water tumbles down in short cascades for some distance; the grotto inside
is untouched by chisel squarings or embellishment, just as Juvenal wished
the grot of AEgeria to be.

All this is particularly romantic, but a more exalted interest is
attached to the town and vicinity of Banias from its being a certainly
known station of our Redeemer's journeys--He who in all His travels "went
about doing good"--but, inasmuch as some records of His blessed footsteps
are connected with incidents of higher importance than others, this one
rises into transcendant value, as being the place where His eternal
divinity was distinctly enunciated.

At that very time the temple of Augustus, erected by Herod, was in its
freshest beauty; the votive inscriptions with the name of Agrippa were
newly chiselled; and the priests of Pan were celebrating sacrifices and
incense, together with rustic offerings, upon his altar; the worship,
too, of Baal was still in existence, under some modifications, upon the
mountain overhead.  At such a place, and under such circumstances, was
the Church universal promised to be founded on the rock of faith to which
Peter had given utterance.

It may be here observed that at that period this Caesarea Philippi was
not a secluded spot, as commentators generally make it, because Banias is
so now; but the town was one of notoriety, adorned, as we have just seen,
with expensive public edifices.

                                * * * * *

On returning to the tents, the shaikh of the village came, attended by
some of his relatives belonging to Hhasbeya, begging for some quinine
medicine: I gave him eight of my twelve remaining pills.  On the adjacent
plain there must needs be fever and ague; in fact, so unwilling was I on
account of malaria to remain longer at Banias, that we resumed our
travelling by night.

At three o'clock, A.M., we were mounted--there was a little rain at the
time, and clouds that threatened more of it obscured the setting moon;
there was lightning also in the same direction.  I even altered my plan
of going on to "the bridge of the daughters of Jacob," (the thoroughfare
between Safed and Damascus,) in order to escape from the plain as quickly
as possible.  For this purpose we turned westwards, and had to struggle
through marshes and rough ground by starlight and lightning.  Most
unwisely we had neglected to take a meal before starting, not expecting
the district to be so plashy and unwholesome as it proved to be.  The
plain, north of the Lake Hhooleh, is traversed by innumerable channels of
water, among which rice is grown, of which I gathered a handful as a
trophy to exhibit in Jerusalem.  And there were lines of tents of the
poor Ghawarineh Arabs upon dry ground, besides small scaffolds standing
in the rice marshes, from which elevations the people watch the crops and
fire upon wild beasts that come to injure or devour the crops; dogs
barked as we passed, and fires were visible in several directions.

Arriving at the bridge of _El Ghujar_, my companion and I both felt sick,
and had to dismount and rest for a time.

Our guide's account of the river differed from that given in Robinson;
instead of the stream being the Hhasbani and the bridge named El Ghujar,
he averred that the river is El Ghujar, and that it rises out of the
ground like the waters of Banias and of Tell el Kadi.  Perhaps this may
account for Porter more recently placing the bridge El Ghujar in a
different situation, much farther north.  The circumstance is not without
value in inquiries as to the collective formation of the Jordan.

As daylight broke we could see herds of buffaloes among the marshes, or
swimming in the water with only their heads raised above the surface; the
village of _Khalsah_ was half way up the hill-side.

From this point the road was level, dry, and comfortable, running due
southwards along the western margin of the plain, but with streams
occasionally crossing it, rushing from the hills towards the lake.

Near _'Ain el Mellahhah_ two Arabs rode up to us and planted their spears
in the ground near our horses heads as a warning to stop, and I suppose
to pay ghuf'r.  I kept on, leaving the kawwas to parley with them.

Not far from the fountain we rested under a terebinth tree (not a
favourable specimen) upon a rising ground; beneath us, but at a short
distance, the strong stream turns a mill, passing through a house, and
escapes to the plain.

The Arabs met us again, and said they were looking for a horse that was
lost, and we saw no more of them.

In another hour my companion was taken with a strong fit of ague, which
urged us the more to press onward for Safed.  From the hills, as we rose
higher and higher, the Lake Hhooleh was perceived to be, above one-third
of it, choked up with weeds and rushes.  Old Hermon showed himself in
surpassing grandeur; not a confused mass--as he does from the plain
looking upwards from close beneath him--but as one grand "monarch of

    "On a throne of rocks, with a robe of clouds,
       And a diadem of snow."

The sun was hot and the hills chalky over which we passed.  In one place
by our wayside, and at considerable elevation, I found squared masonry
stones and traces of houses, with fragments of columns.

A poor Arab peasant, driving an ass laden with a wooden box, was groaning
with pain, and implored us for a draught of water, but I fear that our
people had neglected to bring any with them, as they expected to be so
soon in Safed.

Rested under the shade of some large stones, and sent on a message before
us to the town.  In quarter of an hour, however, some peals of thunder
roused us to pursue the journey; the strong wind that arose at the same
time was not good for ague patients.  Across the great plain as we looked
back was a broad faint piece of rainbow, and the huge mountain, mantled
with clouds about his shoulders, but bright below, appeared peculiarly
fantastic, with flickering shadows of clouds chasing over his sunny

On the outskirts of Safed we found, as customary at that season,
(Bairam,) the newly white-washed graves of the Moslems, adorned with
bunches of myrtle.

At Safed we lodged in the house of a Russo-British Jew, and letters from
Jerusalem that had awaited us came safe to hand, after which followed the
necessary reception of visitors, very troublesome to weary and exhausted
travellers, and at last a supper which had been long in preparing--at
least so it seemed to be.


This, like the journey last described, of six years before, was portion
of a much longer tour, but I omit all that cannot come under the
designation of a Byeway in Palestine.  The two routes were very similar
to each other, with the exception of the passage from Banias to Safed.

Starting from Saida, and trending south-eastwards towards Hhasbeya, we
climbed the mountains, which here rise almost from the sea-shore, and
crossed romantic passes of rugged eminences and deeply cleft ravines.

From Hhasbeya the line was due south to Banias, thence westward by Tell
el Kadi, and Hhuneen, and Tibneen, the capital of the Belad Besharah,
thus almost reaching once more the plain of Phoenicia on its eastern
verge; next by the antiquities of Kadesh Naphtali southwards to Safed;
and homewards to Jerusalem, but this latter route is not to be described,
for the reason given above.

I was accompanied by my niece and another lady, a settled resident of
Jerusalem.  The first object after quitting Saida was to visit Joon, and
to show my companions the residence of Lady Hester Stanhope in years gone
by.  This we reached just before sunset, on the 2d of October 1855.

The tomb was found much dilapidated; in 1853 it was no longer in so good
a condition as it had been in 1849, but it was now even worse, and the
whole spectacle of house, stables, and gardens, was melancholy in the
extreme: the deprivation of roofs gives a peculiar aspect of desolation
to any abandoned dwelling, especially when the gardens have still their
cultivable flowers remaining, but running riot within their marked-out
beds; these had now been sixteen years neglected, yet the roses and
myrtle only required pruning.

We proceeded to the convent, the road was stony, and we had to find the
way by twilight and starlight.

At the great door we were received by the new president, and several of
the clergy chanting psalms for welcome, and the great bell was ringing at
the same time.  I could not but attribute all this unusual display to the
operation of political affairs in Europe.

On taking possession of the rooms allotted to us, I received a visit of
the Greek Catholic Bishop of Saida, he being there on business connected
with the election of a new patriarch in the place of Maximus; his
deportment was that of a man of polite society.  Our rooms were lighted
by huge ecclesiastical tapers of wax.

Next morning, after returning the visit of the bishop at the patriarchal
residence in front of the convent, we breakfasted in the corridor with
the president and another of the convent clergy.  Our ladies then set
themselves to sketching the view from the window, and talking about
church singing from notes, whereupon the president sent a deacon to fetch
his book, and the latter sang for us an anthem, the vociferation and
screechings of which was so alarming, not to mention the nasal twang,
that my niece had to run away to indulge in an obstreperous laugh, and
her senior companion had also much difficulty in refraining from the same
kind of expression of opinion.  The Oriental system of church musical
notation is very complicated, having no stave-lines or bars, but only
certain arbitrary marks over the notes to designate high or low, plain or

Afterwards we inspected the church; then the refectory, and there they
showed us the desk at which one of the community reads to the rest at
meal time, triumphantly assuring me that they read the Bible, yet the two
books I found on the desk were, one the Apocryphal writings, the other
some homilies of St Basil, under whose rule the convent is constituted.

Next we walked over the roof, and looked at the great bell, and the gong;
the view, as might be expected, repaid the trouble.  After this the
kitchen and the store-rooms.

On leaving the convent we proceeded to the nunnery in the neighbourhood.
The ladies visited the inmates, while I remained in an outer apartment
chatting with a priest, till a curtain was drawn aside, and there,
behold! were the lady-president and her flock, curious to see a consul,
and blaming the servants for not having admitted me together with my

The latter gave me afterwards as their opinion of the establishment, that
it very much resembled a comfortable asylum or almshouse for old women.

By this deviation from the high roads we lost the fairy view in that
neighbourhood which had charmed me so much in 1849.

There is a pleasing novelty to us non-Lebanonites in being in a native
Christian country.  Every hill there has its convent, every convent its
bells; clergy are continually passing along the road; and on our descent
of the hill we met a nice old gentleman in clerical dress, with a very
white beard, holding a crimson umbrella over his head, (this is not
uncommon in Palestine,) and preceded by a kawwas with a silver-headed
official staff, also accompanied by a few peasants carrying guns,--this
was a Maronite bishop.

Crossed the river Barook at _Bisrah_, and ascended the usual highway
leading to Hhasbeya.

At the village of _Ineer_ we took further directions, and followed over a
very wild scene to nearly the summit of a mountain called
_Rummet-er-Room_, (the Ramah, or high-place, of the Greeks,) from which
the glorious landscape surpasses all power of description--it is one not
to be forgotten.

At _'Azoor_, a clean pleasant village, the women and girls ran in crowds
to gaze at my ladies; one of the women shouted "Bon soir" in good French,
and a man, accompanied by his wife, saluted us in Italian.

Rested in a beautiful wood of pines, though rather late for luncheon, as
the sun was falling below the western mountains.  Rising higher on the
march we got into rolling misty clouds, and the brilliant effect of
sunbeams between the hills and clouds could not but be surprising.  Our
clothes, however, got damp and chill.

At _Jezzeen_ our tents were found ready pitched in a grove of noble
walnut-trees, with the brook _Zaid_ running among them; near alongside
was a Maronite convent, with a bridge.

The muleteers having left us in the morning, lost their way, and had
taken the more precipitous road by _Dair Mushmushi_.

Here the people behaved with great hospitality to us.

The night was very cold, and in the morning the water for washing felt
like ice.  The position of our encampment, as perceived by daylight, was
so low between hills that the sun could not reach us till the day should
be considerably advanced, yet we were at a very high altitude.  Pity that
we had no aneroid barometer with us to ascertain the amount of our
elevation above the sea.  The poplar-trees and walnut-trees, with fruit
trees of various kinds, showed we were in a totally different region from
that of Jerusalem.

Jezzeen is almost exclusively a Christian village, with a Greek Catholic
church, besides two Maronite churches, and the small convent mentioned

There were clergy walking about; the people cleanly and well clothed, the
children modestly behaved, and even when rendering a service, not asking
for bakhsheesh.

At the time of our leaving, a party of women were wailing over a dead
body under a tree.

The scene gradually became more romantic; and we soon came to a village,
if such it may be denominated, where the only dwellings are dispersed
among vineyards.  These vineyards were, at that autumn season, becoming
of a brown and golden tint.

After traversing the wondrous chaos referred to in the former journey, we
passed through the villages of _Cuf'r Hooneh_ and _Deheedeh_, adjoining
each other; where there was abundance of water, and oleander bushes
fringing the streamlets, with poplar and maple trees.

The rest of the journey had no remarkable difference from that of 1849,
except that on the brow of the great descent to the plain, between
Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon, we rested beneath an olive-tree entwined
with honeysuckle, enraptured with the magnificence of the scene, which
would require a Milton to portray it in words, or a Martin in painting.
I observed that the prevailing tints of the whole great prospect were of
russet and ochreous colours.

Crossed the bridge, charmed with the beauteous verdure and freshening
rapid stream of the Leontes river; and when arrived at Hhasbeya, repaired
to the house of the native Protestant pastor, (Mr John Wartabed,) till a
house could be prepared for us.

Next morning some deputations of the religious sects of the town called
upon me; also the Ameer Saad ed Deen and his five sons in rich dresses;
and lastly, an old Druse who had distinguished himself as a friend of the
Protestant movement.  Among all these, my visit there had a beneficial
effect upon the existence and progress of native Protestantism.  In the
Lebanon the Druses have always favoured the missionaries, their schools
and their chapels, while the native Christian communities, under the
direction of their clergy, have naturally opposed them by every possible
means of the direst persecution.  In proper time and place I may
hereafter have more to say respecting this visit to Hhasbeya.

In the afternoon, Mr Wartabed and the Khoja Bashi, (representative member
in the town-council,) of the Protestants, named Naseef er Reis, rode with
us to the source of the Hhasbani river, which ought to be regarded as the
origin of the Jordan, even though Banias lower down has been for ages
recognised as such.  We saw the bubbles at their earliest birth issue
from the ground, and in a few yards this becomes a flowing stream.
Higher above this spot the bed of a torrent brings down water in rainy
seasons, adding to the springs of the Hhasbani, but this not being
permanent, cannot fairly be counted as having part or lot in the Jordan.

The ladies sat down to take sketches, and in haste I pencilled down in

    O Jordan, dear Jordan, the feelings that throng
    And press on the heart must awaken to song,
    When the bubbles from pebbles break forth into view
    As clear as the spangles of morn's early dew.

    'Mid the poplars that rising surpass other trees,
    And twinkle as moved by the scarce mountain breeze,
    And the wild oleander in rose-colour'd bloom,
    With trill of the linnet, and shrubs of perfume.

    I have drunk from each source that advances a claim
    To share with our Jordan its time-honour'd name;
    Here now at Hhasbeya--and the old site of Dan;
    Or the gush that escapes from the grotto of Pan.

    How oft on far banks of its tortuous course,
    In the scenes of repose or of cataract force,
    Where the bulbul, 'mid willows and tamarisk shades,
    Still warbles--

"Now, ladies, the horses are ready, and we have further to go," broke in
upon the muse of Lebanon.  The day's work had to be finished, and time
was short; so we rode away to the bitumen pits in the neighbourhood of
Cocaba.  These are not worked in warm weather, for the people are afraid
of the possible effects of their gas generated under a hot sun.  One of
the pits is seventy ells, or cubits, deep, and the bitumen is reached
through a crust of chalky soil.  The property is a government monopoly,
rented by natives, and the business is lazily and irregularly carried on;
therefore, sometimes the success is greater than at others.  We found two
men living in a tent as guardians of the place, who were very civil to
us, and permitted us to carry away some specimens.  These were all of a
very soft consistency; but at the bitumen works at four hours north of
Hhasbeya, the mineral is of a still softer description, almost liquid.

Next morning, the Kadi paid us a visit, accompanied by a merchant of
Damascus, a correspondent of an English house in India for indigo.

On Sunday we attended divine service at the native Protestant church,
which the people call the English church, and in virtue thereof have set
up a bell above it; because, although the mission is carried on by
American money and under the direction of American agents, the American
consuls are forbidden by their home-government from taking any steps in
behalf of their undertakings; and thus, but for the protection given them
by Mr Wood, British consul of Damascus, and his consular friends at
Bayroot, the American Mission, with all their schools and
printing-presses, would, upon all human calculation, have been crushed
long ago.

In conformity with Oriental usage, the congregation was divided according
to the sexes.  In the old Eastern churches the women are placed in a
gallery above the men, but here the equality of the sexes was maintained
by their occupying the same floor, while separated from each other by a
wall built rather higher than the usual stature of a man; the pulpit
being equally visible from each division.  A large jar of water stood in
the corner within the door, to which the men repaired occasionally, as
they felt thirsty.  There were no chairs or benches, except such as were
brought from the house for our party, the congregation were sitting on
their heels, in which posture they sang the hymns, and remained so during
the prayer, only covering the face with the right hand; a few men,
however, stood up.

The singing (Arabic) was good, of course all in unison.  The first hymn
was to the tune of our "Old Hundredth," the chapters read by the minister
were Ezek. xviii. and Rom. iii., and the text of the sermon was Ps.
lxxxix. 14, "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy
and truth shall go before thy face."  The style of language in the sermon
was that of good Arabic, but of simple, unpretending character, without
admixture of foreign words or phrases: this was insured by the
circumstance of the minister being a native of the country, though
originally belonging to the Armenian Church.

At the afternoon service the chapters read were Num. xxiii. and Heb.
xiii.  The text for the sermon was Heb. xiii. 8, "Jesus Christ, the same
yesterday, to-day, and for ever," and the hymn was sung to a sweet
plaintive air of American origin.

Afterwards, that is after sunset, we spent some hours with the pastor's
family, who all understood English well.  Mr Wartabed played the flute to
the hymn-singing, and his sister's voice was clear as a flageolet.  The
evening was one of comfort and refreshment on both sides; it was one of a
Sabbath, "a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable," (Isa. lviii. 13.)

The poor Protestants have not always been in such satisfactory
circumstances.  Their principal man had narratives to relate of chains
and imprisonment endured in past times from the present Ameer, whose
policy was now in their favour.

Next morning we left Hhasbeya, and I have not been there since.  Little
could it be foreseen that in five years afterwards one indiscriminate
butchery would be made of the Ameer and his son, notwithstanding their
high descent of family and profession of Islam, together with all the
Christians of whatever sect in the town, driven like sheep within the
walls of his palace--a deed of treachery unexampled even in that period
of bloody Turkish treachery.  Since then my lady companions are both in
their graves, the one at Jerusalem, the other at Bayroot, let me rather
say in "a better country," while I am left alone to narrate this in the
distant security of England.

On our way towards Banias we met a party of Druses returning from a small
lake beyond Hhooleh, carrying leeches in earthen jars and cotton bags
upon asses, they themselves walking.  A green hill on our right was said
to be frequented by wild boars--all the rest of our scenery was bare and

A weli was a conspicuous object at some distance to the south, and near
to the Lake Hhooleh, which the Moslems name after "Judah the son of
Jacob."  One of the Hhasbeya Protestants, who was with us, quoted in his
native Arabic "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah," etc.

At Tell el Kadi we reposed beneath the great tree near the gush of its
branch of the Jordan, the same tree (evergreen oak) as afforded us
shelter in 1849.  Both this spring of the river and that of Banias are
far more striking objects than the humble source of the Hhasbani, into
which stream they run as affluents, making up the Jordan.

It was a beautiful evening of mellow sunlight, and the scene most
peaceful at the foot of Hermon.

On nearing Banias we were met by the son of the shaikh of the village,
sent out to invite us.  It was harvest time of the Simsim, (Sesame,) and
the produce was very abundant; sheaves of it were piled up into large
stacks, and the length of the plant in stalk exceeded all I had ever seen
before,--a natural effect of growing on these well-watered plains.

There were also my old friends the myrtles scattered about among the
other trees.

At Banias our attendants had pitched the tents, to our disgust, near the
village, and with the stench of carrion not far off; much better places
might have been taken, but this was selected probably in consequence of
the invitation from the shaikh.  Our short remainder of twilight was
employed in viewing the inscriptions and the grotto of Pan.

Next morning I was making fresh transcriptions of the Greek votive
dedications before the sun was up, so as to get them as accurately as
possible without sunshine and shadows.  Then the same once more after
breakfast, with the sun full upon them.  These, together with the copies
taken in 1849 by afternoon sunlight, and consequently the shadows thrown
in the reverse direction, ought to ensure for me a correct delineation,
saving and except those letters that are defaced by the action of weather
during fifteen centuries, or across which small cracks have been made by
the same cause.

The shaikh came to transact some business of consequence to him.  Before
noon we resumed our journey; going due west through the Sesame harvest
and the myrtle trees to Tell el Kadi; straight across the plain through
marshes, frequent small streams, and large fields of rice, which they
said would be fit for reaping in twenty days more, that is, by the end of

Crossed the Ghujar bridge, but did not as before turn off to Safed; our
object now was to reach Tibneen in the Belad Besharah, and therefore we
kept on due west, ascending up to the great crusading castle and the
village of _Huneen_, from which the look back upon Jebel esh Shaikh
(Hermon) was indescribably grand.

A little farther on, a glimpse was caught of the Mediterranean Sea! the
mountain breeze most delightful.  Rested by the roadside for luncheon;
came to the village of _Hhooleh_, thence into lower valleys of green
woods, often with scarce room to pass ourselves, our horses, and the
luggage between branches of trees for some successive hours.  Then under
the village of _Jahharah_, where were charcoal burners working at their

The scene opened into verdant glades, alternated with woodland; the
breathing most pure as exhaled from trees upon firm dry ground,
contrasted with the noxious vapours from the marshes in the early

Flocks and shepherds appeared, and there was the sound of the axe busy in
the woods; not the ringing sound of the bright large English axe, this
being wanted in the stroke of the petty Oriental tools.

As evening drew on, and broad shadows fell from green hills across our
way, Tibneen Castle came nobly into view, and there a goodly reception
awaited us.  A strange medley of splendour, with fleas and dust, obtained
throughout the establishment, and our ladies visited those of the
Hhareem, concerning whom they brought back no agreeable report.

We remained over two nights at Tibneen; the latter of which was,
throughout its whole duration, one of furious storm, rattling the wooden
lattices that served for windows; a storm not uncommon in the East, when
an adverse wind meets and drives back a strong shirocco.  At daybreak the
first sound of the morning was that of a large trained hawk near the
window, chained to his perch, and screaming out his delight in the
bluster of the tempest.  Mount Hermon appeared, not in his summer glow,
but in solemn majesty, defying the clouds and the winds that raged in
vain against his solid substance.

Our progress was thence towards Safed, which, however, we did not reach
in less than eleven hours and a half, instead of six, because of our
circuit made to see the antiquities of Kadis and Cuf'r Bera'am.

Turning off before Bint el Jebail, we came to _'Ain Atha_, and next to
_Aituran_.  At Kadis (Kedesh Naphtali) I found that much of the principal
and beautiful temple had been lately despoiled by our late host of
Tibneen ('Ali Bek) for the ornamentation of his Hhareem or women's
apartments, and balconies or galleries.  Then to _Yaroon_, near which was
still the ponderous sarcophagus upon a platform in the open country, and
likely to stay there for ages to come.  It is too plain and devoid of
ornament or inscription for antiquarians from Europe to covet it, and to
remove it for no particular use would demand too much exertion from the
natives of the country.  My groom, however, thought it might be useful as
a depository of barley in the stable!

We overtook a party of Safed people returning from the weekly market at
Bint el Jebail.

At Cuf'r Bera'am we inspected the ancient buildings now bearing Hebrew
inscriptions, and I was more than ever convinced in my own mind, that
neither these nor any edifices at Kadis have any relation to the Jewish
people, in their origin or intention.  The Hebrew writing is of inferior
style, and very modern character, far, far unequal to the beauty of the
architecture; besides having evident traces of animal figures which have
been hastily chiselled off.

The sun set, and a bad road had to be traversed in order to reach our
destination at Safed.


In my two journeys just described, the route was over the southern part
of the long Lebanon range, not only on the main ridge, but crossing some
of the innumerable spurs thrown out towards the sea.  This time, however,
we have to deal with a more northerly and higher region; and it is
because of its being in a different direction from those of 1849 and 1855
that I have not observed the consecutive order of date--this was in 1853.
We shall start from the coast, where the most projecting and western spur
subsides into Ras Bayroot, and the climbing begins almost immediately
after leaving deep yellow sands and the pine forest.

The object was to reach Mokhtarah, perched high in the heart of the Shoof
or central ridge of Lebanon, like an eyrie, as it was then, for the
princely house of Jonblat.  Mokhtarah lies S.-E. from Bayroot, and to
arrive there we had to cross the intervening spurs, climbing as we went.

The town of Dair el Kamar and the palace of Beteddeen, formerly the
headquarters of the house of Shehab, lay upon the road.  The remainder of
the journey after Mokhtarah consisted in a rapid descent to Sidon, the
great port in antiquity for Damascus, Phoenicia, and the Lebanon.

This tour comprised the finest range of the territory occupied by the
Druse nation.

1853.  _July_.--From Bayroot, with its bewitching scenery and its
gorgeous colouring of mountains and the sea, we went to _'Abeih_, the
best known of the American missionary stations in the Lebanon.

Through the woods of pines, with their reviving fragrance, and through
_El Hadeth_, an entirely Christian village, where the bell of the
Maronite convent was ringing as we passed, we came to _Shuwaifat_, and
rose still higher towards the mountain pines and the breezes so desirable
in Syria in the month of July, leaving below the olive in abundance, the
mulberry and the fig-trees.

Beside the fountain called _'Ain Besaba_ was a pottery factory.  The
nature of the rocks around was soft sandstone; a gigantic pear-tree stood
conspicuous among the excellent cultivation of the neighbourhood; higher
still, between straight tall pines and wild holly-oaks, our road curved
round and round the hills.

We overtook a company of Christians, the women riding and the men
walking--this circumstance alone would show they were not Mohammedans.
The two parties had to pass each other with much caution, as the path was
narrow and the precipice deep below.

At _'Ain 'Anoob_, where a copious supply of water issues from three
spouts, the fountain has on each side the representation of a chained
lion, sculptured in stone.  One's first impression would be that this
were a relic of the Genoese or Venetian crusaders; but these figures,
whatever their meaning or origin, are not infrequent upon fountains about
the Lebanon, even when only rustically daubed in red ochre; and it has
not been often noticed that there are similar lions facing each other,
only without the chains, one on each side of St Stephen's Gate at
Jerusalem.  Some of the women at the fountains wore the horns on their
head, the fashion for which is gradually passing away.  The terraces on
the hills were in the highest state of cultivation, and gave abundant
promise of fruit for the coming season; the sun was near setting, the
rooks cawing overhead, and we saw two little girls each bring a lamb to
the fountain to drink and then proceed to wash them.

Sidi Ahhmad, a Druse 'Akal, with, of course, a white turban, undertook to
be our guide as far as 'Abeih.

Fresh air to breathe! how different from the oppressive heat of Bayroot!
We all drank of every spring by the way, and by consequence lifted up the
drooping head, (Ps. cx. 7,) thinking each fountain colder than that
before it.

The most rugged portion of the road was between _'Ain 'Anoob_ and
_'Ainab_, and zigzag were the worn tracks of the way.  Sometimes a
musical jingle of bells announced the coming of travellers in front, who
were however invisible till they pounced upon us from between two
pinnacles of rocks.  On the steepest ascents it was necessary to halt and
await the coming up of our baggage mules.

From mountain heights it is often difficult to distinguish the blue
expanse of the Mediterranean Sea from the similar blue expanse of the
sky, until the actual moment of sunset, when the bright orb becoming
suddenly flattened on its lower curve reveals the exact horizon line; and
so it was this evening.

Wearied with the climbing position of the saddle, hour after hour, I
passed _'Ain Kesoor_ on foot, the 'Akal leading the horse.  This was
shortly before 'Abeih, but there I rode up to the mansion of Kasim Bek,
the local governor, to ask hospitality; it was dark night, and Saturday.
My intention was to spend the Sunday in a Christian manner among the
American missionaries.  The journey had been one of five hours and a half
from Bayroot.

We were heartily received into a fine old house, in which were shaikhs
and chiefs of sundry grades seated on the divan with the host, and
immediately the means for washing were brought by the domestics with
great respect.  A good supper was prepared, the Bek eating with us, to my
surprise, but I afterwards learned that this is not uncommon with a
non-'Akal Druse, as he was.

_Sunday_.--Quiet morning.  Bell of the Capuchin Convent almost adjoining
the house.  From the windows there is a fine prospect of Bayroot and the

After breakfast I went up to the chapel of the American missionaries, and
entered just as the Arabic service was about to commence--Dr de Forest in
the pulpit; and his sermon was preached with fluency of language equal to
that of a native.  The subject was taken from 1 Cor. i. 12, 13,
concerning those who named themselves followers of Paul or of Apollos.
The women were screened off from the men in the congregation.

After service Dr de Forest welcomed me, and led me up the hill to the
mission-house, where I found my old friend, Dr Eli Smith, who was unwell,
and about to leave them on the morrow for his home at B'hamdoon.  With
Mrs de Forest there was a young lady just arrived from the United States
to be a teacher in the school.

The residence is a good one; with the girls' school on the ground plan,
and the dwelling apartments above.  The scenery and prospect equal all
that the highest imagination could conceive of the Lebanon.  Over the
sea, the island of Cyprus can occasionally be distinguished from the
terrace, that is to say, three peaks of a mountain show themselves at
sunset, particularly if the wind be in the north, in the month of May or
the beginning of June.  This view, therefore, gives the outskirts of "the
isles of Chittim," as seen from the Holy Land, (Num. xxiv. 24, and Jer.
ii. 10.)

After dinner we all went together to the English service in the chapel.
Mr Colquhoun preached a simple but impressive sermon from John x. 4;
which text he illustrated by an incident that he had witnessed in a
recent journey northwards.

A shepherd with a flock arrived at a river of some impetuosity.  He
entered it first, trying the depths with his staff, got over at the best
place, and then with his voice called over the sheep to him.  From which
the following points were deduced:--

1.  That the shepherd led the way, and the flock waited for his call.

2.  That the sheep followed when he called, although not all of them at
the precise ford he had discovered.  Some of them trusted to their own
judgment, and these generally got out of their depths for a time.  His
way was certainly the best one.

3.  That as the shepherd stood on the opposite bank, he showed no
symptoms of uneasiness, for he was confident that every one of the flock
would get safely across.

4.  That the sheep in passing over used each his own efforts to get
across, apparently just as much as if there were no one present to help;
although no doubt the presence of the shepherd had a good effect upon
their exertions.  It is beyond our reach to explain the metaphysical
mystery of this.

5.  The shepherd in first crossing the stream himself tested the force of
the stream.  Each individual creature had to do the same; but those who
followed the closest upon his track had an easy passage, while those who
tried new ways for themselves were some of them swept down the current
for a distance, and had to make hard struggles to rejoin their companions
and to reach the beloved shepherd.

6.  All got safely over, for they were his sheep; he knew them all by
name; he had tried the way before them and shown it; he then called them
to himself.

Of course each of these points was made use of as personally applicable
to the hearers.  The sermon did me much good from its quiet and truthful

At this service, it is needless to observe, that there was no separation
of sexes in the congregation.  The girls of the school (who are all
taught English) were there placed by themselves, and prettily dressed,
wearing the Oriental _izar_, (or large white veil,) with flowered
borders, a novelty to us.

Returning to the mission-house, the late afternoon and the time of sunset
and twilight were spent in rational conversation of Christian character.
And such was our Sabbath-day of devotion and repose.

How glorious were the colours spread over the vast extent of mountain and
sea, modified by length of shadows as the sun declined!  Oh how deep are
such beauties and the perception of their value laid in the innermost
recesses of our soul's nature, only to be completely gratified in the
eternity to come.  Here, below, we have gorgeous tints differing in
succession, even after actual sunset, to be followed by a delicate
after-glow, which again gives place to the splendour of night.  And as in
earth, so in heaven, with the exception of night; for surely there will
be alternations of beauteous scenes above; surely there will be
developments and variety in light, colour, music, harmony, and the rest
of those "pleasures for evermore," which are everywhere emanations from
the direct love of "Him who first loved us,"--His gifts, who even here
bestows prismatic hues upon icebergs in the arctic circle, and a rosy
flush to the peaks of Jebel Sanneen in the Lebanon.

_Monday_.--Letters were brought at a late hour last night in four hours
from Bayroot, giving recent intelligence from our fleet--all political
affairs going on successfully.

Everybody speaks well of our host the governor, and his family.  He is a
studious man, and has acquired from the Americans a good deal of history
and general knowledge; his youngest brother attends the natural-history
class of the mission-school.  He is a relative of the famous Abu Neked,
and his wife (Druses have but one wife each) is of the Jonblat family.
The ancestral mansion he inhabits was built by one of the ancient race
called the T'noohh, who flourished there from the 10th to the 17th
century, and artists had been brought for the purpose from
Constantinople; the symmetry of the masonry is admirable, and
consequently the shadows formed from it are particularly straight and
sharp in outline.

The village contains specimens of every form of religion to be found
throughout the Lebanon; each sect, however, keeps somewhat apart from the
rest, which practice being common in the mountain, may account for the
villages appearing to a stranger to consist of separate pieces not quite
joined together.

Some women still wear horns, although the Christian clergy set themselves
strongly against these ornaments; some even refusing the
Communion-Sacrament to those who persist in retaining that heathenish
emblem derived from ancient mythology.

Among the Druse men, the 'Akal are not so marked in their difference of
costume from the Juhal as formerly, except in the extreme cleanliness and
careful plaiting of the white turban.  My host, notwithstanding the
antiquity of his family and his studious character, is not one of the
initiated, he is but a Jahel, yet he probably serves his people best in
that capacity, as he is thereby enabled to hold government employments.

From his windows we could see on the south side of Ras Bayroot several
small vessels engaged in sponge-fishing; the crews of these are generally
Greeks from the islands: yesterday with the telescope we had a good view
of the mail-steamer arriving.

We went to take leave of the American friends, who showed us some
excellent specimens of English writing, and of drawing from the girls'

Returning to the Druse friends, I visited Seleem, a brother of the Bek.
On hearing that we were proceeding to Mokhtarah, Naaman, (brother of Said
Bek Jonblat,) who has retired from worldly affairs, and become a devout
'Akal, requested one of my party to ask Said to send him some
orange-flower water.  I have no doubt that this message ([Greek text])
covered some political meaning.

The house of Seleem was simplicity and neatness in the extreme, the only
ornamentation being that of rich robes, pistols, swords, and the silver
decorations of horses, suspended on pegs round the principal apartment;
all thoroughly Oriental of olden time.

The Christian secretary of the Bek attended us to _Cuf'r Natta_ on a fine
Jilfi mare, where he got for us a pedestrian guide to Dair el Kamar.  A
very deep valley lay before us, into which we had to descend, lounging
leftwards, and then to mount the opposite hill, returning rightwards, to
an elevation higher than that of Cuf'r Natta.  Down we went by zigzags
through groves of pine that were stirred gently on their tops by the
mountain breeze, and there was plenty of wild myrtle on the ground; we
frequently met with specimens of iron ore, and pink or yellow metallic
streaks in the rocks, to the river Suffar, being the upper part of the
river that is called Damoor upon the sea-coast.  This is crossed by the
bridge _Jisr' el Kadi_, (so named from an ameer of the house of T'noohh,
surnamed the Kadi, or Judge, from his legal acquirements, and who erected
the bridge in old times,) near which the limestone rock of the water-bed
is worn into other channels by the occasional escapements of winter
torrents.  There are mills adjoining.

We all rested in a coffee-station at the end of the bridge.  Several
parties of muleteers had halted there at the same time.  By the little
fireside a large hawk was perched, and the owner of the place had his
apparatus for shoemaking in the middle of the room.

Flowering oleander and fruit trees imparted liveliness to the scene
outside, our several parties in variegated costumes adding not a little
to the same.

Crossing the bridge, (which is level, and has no side parapets,) we
commenced the great ascent; the hill-side was largely planted with
sherabeen, (sprouts,) of a kind of cedar, not the real cedar of Lebanon.
At a spring half way up we found a poor Turkish infantry soldier resting
all alone, he was a pitiable object in a district so unfriendly to him.

What a different country would Palestine or all Syria be were it like the
Lebanon, industriously cultivated inch by inch!  How different would the
Lebanon be were this industry and its produce never interrupted by
intestine warfare!

Higher still we saw a train of shaikhs on horseback, attended by men on
foot, coming in our direction longitudinally on the opposite hill from a
remote village.

All the distance, I think, from Jis'r el Kadi forwards, notwithstanding
the steep nature of the country, was over a paved or made road.  There is
no such a thing in the south; here, however, the desolation of Turkish
rule is but little known, and the people are not only industrious, but a
fine muscular race.

We overtook small groups of village people who had, it seems, gone out to
meet the important riding party lately seen by us.  Suddenly, at a turn
of the road, the cheerful town of Dair el Kamar opened out to view, with
the hills and palaces of Beteddeen behind.  This was at three hours from
'Abeih, exclusive of the hour's rest at the bridge.

The town appeared to be well built, better than many a European town,
notwithstanding the destruction arising from recent warfare, and the
people cleanly; it was, however, no proof of the latter quality that I
saw a pig being fed at a house-door as we passed along.

We alighted at the best Arab house I had ever entered, namely, that of
the influential Meshakah family.  After some repose the host took me and
the friends who had accompanied me from Soor and Saida to look about the
town.  Through streets and bazaars we came to a large open place occupied
by silk weavers at work, among whom was the father of Faris, the Arabic
teacher in the Protestant school at Jerusalem, he having been instructed
by the Americans at 'Abeih, and whose sister I had seen there the day
preceding.  The silk stuffs of the town maintain a respectable rivalry
with those of Damascus.

Turkish soldiers were dawdling about the streets.

We called at some Christian houses, in one of which (very handsome, with
a garden) the recesses in the wall of one side of the divan room,
containing bedding as usual in the East, were screened by a wide curtain
of white muslin spangled with gold.  Upon the other sides of the room
were rude fresco paintings.  Opposite the door on entering was the Virgin
and Child; over the door was a dove with an olive branch; and the
remaining side was embellished by the picture of a fine water-melon, with
a slice cut off and lying at its side, the knife still upright in the
melon, and an angel flying above it, blowing a trumpet!

The town is romantically situated upon successive levels of terraces in
the hill, and environed by orchards of fruit.  As evening approached, the
opposite hill was suffused in a glow of pink, followed by purple light,
and the Ramadan gun was fired from Beteddeen when the sun's orb dropped
upon the horizon.  Suddenly the hills exchanged their warm colours for a
cold gray, in harmony with the gloaming or evening twilight.

The population of Dair el Kamar at that time numbered 700 full-grown men
of Maronites, 220 of Greek Catholics, 150 of Druses, with a few Moslems
and Jews--each of the sects living apart from the rest.  The silk
manufacture was more extensive than that of Saida, and a constant
communication was kept up with Damascus, which is at twenty hours'
distance.  The Christians are far more hardy than their fellow-Christians
the Maronites are in their special district to the north.  The whole
population is industrious, and the Druses maintain their characteristic
steadfastness of purpose, secrecy, and union among themselves.

The house in which I was so hospitably received had been almost entirely
destroyed in the war of 1841; and its proprietor (brother of the two
brothers now its owners) shot dead in his own court, by persons who owed
him money, namely, the Druse party of Abu Neked, two hundred of whom had
for a fortnight lived at free quarters there.

The two brothers who were my hosts are Christians of the Greek Catholic
sect, named Gabriel and Raphael.  A third surviving brother is the
talented Protestant controversialist residing in Damascus, and practising
medicine as learned from the Americans.  The one who was shot by the
Druses was Andrew; the eldest of all is Ibrahim, settled in Bayroot, and
his son named Khaleel is dragoman of the English consulate there--it was
he who furnished us with the introduction to this house in Dair el Kamar.

How curious is the domestic life of these Oriental families.  Eating
takes place in the principal room, with a throng of women and children
passing heedlessly about, or visitors entering as they please.  Among
these, during the dinner time, came in a Jew speaking Jewish-German.  He
was a dyer, who had known me at Jerusalem, and conversed with remarkable
self-possession: it seemed as if the mountain air, and absence from the
Rabbis of Jerusalem, had made a man of him.  In attendance on the meal
was an ancient woman-servant of the family, very wrinkled, but wearing
the tantoor or horn on her head.

On retiring from the table, if we may use that expression as applicable
to an Oriental dinner, there came in the Greek Catholic Bishop of Saida,
and several heads of houses of the Maronites, on visits of ceremony.

The fatigue of the day was closed, and rewarded by a night of sleep upon
a bed of down and crimson silk, under a covering of the same.

In the morning our journey was resumed; but before quitting this
interesting town, I cannot forbear quoting Dr Porter's admirable
description of Dair el Kamar, from Murray's "Handbook for Syria and
Palestine," part ii. page 413:--

"Deir el Kamr is a picturesque mountain village, or rather town, of some
8000 inhabitants, whose houses are built along a steep, rocky hill-side.
A sublime glen runs beneath it, and on the opposite side, on a projecting
ledge, stands the palace of Bteddin.  Both the banks, as well as the
slopes above them, are covered with terraces, supporting soil on which a
well-earned harvest waves in early summer, amid rows of mulberries and
olives and straggling vines.  Industry has here triumphed over apparent
impossibilities, having converted naked rocky declivities into a
paradise.  In Palestine we have passed through vast plains of the richest
soil all waste and desolate--here we see the mountain's rugged side
clothed with soil not its own, and watered by a thousand rills led
captive from fountains far away.  Every spot on which a handful of soil
can rest, every cranny to which a vine can cling, every ledge on which a
mulberry can stand, is occupied.  The people too, now nearly all
Christians, have a thrifty well-to-do look, and the children, thanks to
the energy of the American missionaries, are well taught."

This was in 1857, and the description corresponds to what I witnessed in
1853; but, alas! how great a change ensued in 1860.  I must refrain,
however, from enlarging upon the melancholy tragedy that occurred there
during the insurrection of that memorable year.

First we went to Beteddeen, and witnessed the sad spectacle of the Ameer
Besheer's luxurious palace in a process of daily destruction by the
Turkish soldiery, who occupied it as a barrack.  Accounts had been read
by me in Europe {405} of its size and costliness, but the description had
not exceeded the reality.

The officer in command gave us permission to be guided over the palatial
courts and chambers.  We wandered through the Hhareem-rooms, and saw
baths of marble and gilding, sculptured inscriptions in the passages,
coloured mosaics in profusion on the floors, painted roofs, rich columns,
brass gates, carved doors, marble fountains, and basins with gold fish.
We entered the state reception room, and the old ameer's little business
divan, in a balcony commanding a view of the approaches in every
direction, of the meidan for equestrian practice, of the inner courts, of
the gardens below, and of a cascade of water rolling over lofty cliffs,
at the exact distance whence the sound came gently soothing the ear, and
from that spot also was obtained a distant view of the Mediterranean; not
omitting the advantage of witnessing every important movement that could
be made in the streets of Dair el Kamar, across the deep valley.

Beteddeen had been a truly princely establishment, but now adds one more
lesson to the many others of instability in human greatness.  Fourteen
years before, it was all in its glory--the courts were thronged with
Druse and Maronite chiefs arrayed in cloth of gold, with soldiers, with
secretaries, with flatterers and suppliants; whereas now, before our
eyes, the dirty canaille of Turkish soldiers were tearing up marble
squares of pavement to chuck about for sport, doors were plucked down and
burned, even the lightning-rods were demolished, and every species of
devastation practised for passing away their idle time.

I shall not here describe the political movements that led to this great
reverse of fortune, or to the present condition of the family of Shehab.

The mountains around were still in careful cultivation, chiefly with the
vine and olive; and the aqueduct still brings water from the springs of
Suffar at several miles' distance, and this it is which, after supplying
the palace, forms the cascade above described, and afterwards turns two

At short distances are smaller palaces, erected also by this powerful
ameer for his mother and his married sons; but the same fate has
overtaken them all--Turkish devastation.

Before leaving the place, I visited the tomb of the ameer's mother and
that of his principal wife, who was a Christian; they are near the house,
and surrounded by five cypresses.

Took the road towards Mokhtarah, the seat of the rival chief, the Druse
Jonblat.  For some distance after Beteddeen the roads have been carefully
constructed, over an unusually level plateau for the Lebanon; but an
enormous ridge of mountain stands conspicuous in the N.-E.  This is the
highest part of the Shoof, near the sources of the river _Barook_, so
named from being the first place where the Arab camels _knelt_ on
arriving in the Lebanon in A.D. 821.  The sad spectacle of villages and
good farm-houses desolate and blackened by fire, frequently met the view;
for this open tract, called the _Sumkaniyeh_, has frequently been a scene
of conflict between the leading factions; it was especially the ground of
the considerable battle of the Ameer Besheer and the Jonblatiyeh in 1825.
At length, from the commencement of a descent, we saw Mokhtarah upon an
opposite hill, commanding the view of our approach--a great advantage in
times of warfare.  Our road lay downwards by odd turns and twists, and
over a precipice to the river Barook, with its romantic banks and
fruit-trees peering between overhanging rocks.

On our arrival, the great man, Said Bek Jonblat, {408} came out with a
train of 'Akal councillors and a crowd of humbler retainers.  He was a
handsome man of about twenty-eight, and richly apparelled.  Beneath a
large abai or cloak of black Cashmere, with Indian patterns embroidered
about the collar and skirts, he wore a long gombaz of very dark green
silk embossed with tambour work; his sash was of the plainest purple
silk, and his sidriyeh or vest was of entire cloth of gold with gold
filigree buttons: on the head a plain tarboosh, and in his hand sometimes
a cane ornamented with ivory or a rosary of sandal-wood.  His gold watch
and chain were in the best European taste.

I need not here expatiate on the sumptuous reception afforded us; it may
be enough to say, that having some hours to spare before sunset--the
universal time for dinner in the East--we walked about, and the Bek
shewed me the yet unrepaired damages, inflicted in his father's time, at
the hands of the victorious Ameer Besheer's faction, on that palace and
paradise which his father Besheer had created there, thus teaching the
Shehab Ameer how to build its rival of Beteddeen,--and the limpid stream
brought from the high sources of the Barook to supply cascades and
fountains for the marble courts, which the other also imitated in
bringing down the Suffar to his place.  We sat beside those streams and
cascades, so grateful at that season of the year, conversing about the
Arab factions of Kaisi and Yemeni, or the Jonblat and Yesbeck parties of
the Druses, or his own early years spent in exile either in the Hauran or
with Mohammed 'Ali in Egypt,--but not a word about actual circumstances
of the Lebanon, or about his plans for restoring the palace to more than
its former splendour, which he afterwards carried out.  This was all very
agreeable, but a curious fit of policy assumed at the time rendered my
host to some degree apparently inhospitable to us Christians.

It is well known that the Druse religion allows its votaries to profess
outwardly the forms of any other religion according to place and
circumstances.  The Bek was now adopting Moslem observances;
consequently, it being the month of Ramadan, we could have nothing to eat
till after sunset.  What could have been his reason for this temporary
disguisement I have never been able to discover.  Even the adan was cried
on the roof of his house, summoning people to prayer in the canonical
formula of the Moslems, and Said Bek, with his councillors, retired to a
shed for devotional exercises, as their prayers may be appropriately
termed; and I remarked that at every rising attitude he was lifted
reverently by the hands and elbows, by his attendants,--an assistance
which no true Mohammedan of any rank, that I had ever met with, would
have tolerated.

At length the sunlight ceased to gild the lofty peaks above us, and
pipes, sherbet, and ice were served up as a preparation for the coming

There is in front of the house a square reservoir of water, with a
current flowing in and out of it; this is bordered by large
cypress-trees, and in a corner near the house wall grows a large
acacia-tree, the light-green colour and drooping foliage of which gave
somewhat of an Indian appearance to the scene.

Lamps were then lit beneath an arcade, and near the water a huge cresset
was filled with resinous pine splinters, and the light of its burning
flickered fantastically over the pool, the house, and the trees.

Next came the dinner, late for the appetites of us travellers, and
tedious in its duration--with music outside the open windows.

After the meal the Bek withdrew to the corner of his divan for
transaction of business with his people, as the Moslems do at that
season.  His part of the affairs consisted in endorsing a word or two
upon the petitions or addresses that were produced by the
secretaries--these were written on small rolls of paper like tiny
cigarettes, pinched at one end.  How very un-European to carry on
business in so few words, either written or spoken!

Said Bek was a man of few words in such transactions, but what he did say
seemed always to hit exactly the point intended; and the wave of his
finger was sufficient to summon a number of men to receive his commands.
He was evidently a person of a different stamp from the coarse leaders of
Lebanon factions, the Abu Neked, the Shibli el 'Arian, and such like; he
is proud of his family antiquity, refined in dress and manners, and has
always, like the rest of the Druses, courted the favour of the English

On the entrance of his son, named Nejib, probably four or five years old,
all the Akal councillors and military officers rose to receive him.

In the morning we took our departure, when Said Bek accompanied us as far
as the Meidan, and a profusion of Druse compliments filled up the

We now passed for some hours along the river side, through the utmost
loveliness of Lebanon scenery.  Among other trees that lined its banks,
or adorned the precipitous cliffs, or followed the rising and falling
road, were noble specimens of platanus (plane) and lofty zanzalacht, (the
peepul of India;) crystal rills tumbled down the rocks, as if sparkling
alive with enjoyment; then the usual poplar, walnut, evergreen oak, and a
large plantation of olive: the river sometimes smiled with the fringe of
oleander.  We halted for a time under a wide-branching platanus at the
end of a bridge, between the masonry of which grew bunches of the caper
plant, then in blossom of white and lilac, and at the piers of which grew
straggling blackberry brambles and wild fig-trees in picturesque
irregularity, while the water bubbled and gurgled over a pebbly bed or
fragments of rock.

Peasantry passed us with ass-loads of wood for fuel, (camels being
unknown in that region.)  The same features continually repeated
themselves as we advanced; large broken cliffs were overhanging us, and
birds singing in the solitude; it need not be added that the sun was
cloudless the whole day long.

Forward we went to the Convent of the Dair el Mokhallis, which we reached
in four hours and a half from Mokhtarah, where we rested a few hours;
then visited once more the house of Lady Hester Stanhope.

Thence descending to the sea beach, we crossed the river Awali, and
looked back with regret to the heights of Lebanon.  Just as the last gun
of Ramadan was fired, (for it was the termination of that fast and the
commencement of Beiram,) we galloped our horses into the sea-wave near
the walls of Sidon, which they enjoyed as refreshing to their heated
fetlocks, and we found a luxury in the breeze and in the rustling sound
of the endless roll of wavelets upon the shelly beach.

How different were the temperature and the scenery from those of
Mokhtarah in the early morning!

                                * * * * *

Even now in the nineteenth century one can understand how it was that in
ancient Bible times the peoples inhabiting those romantic districts were
distinct from each other within a small space, having separate kings and
alien interests, for here in the lapse of few hours I had traversed
regions where the inhabitants differed greatly in religion, in manners,
customs, dress, and physical aspect.  The Maronite and the Druse of
Lebanon; the Syrian and the Turk of Bayroot, Saida, and Soor; the
Metawali of the Phoenician district, no more resemble each other than if
they were men or women of different nations, as indeed they are by
derivation; each of these is but a fragment of antiquity, representing to
us his several ancient race; yet all these fragments are united for the
present by the slenderest of bonds, those of using one common language,
the Arabic, and of an unwilling subjection to the Ottoman scymitar.

Alas! for the beautiful country thus parcelled out by peoples, who,
cherishing ancient rivalries and modern blood-feuds, have, and can have
no national life, or sentiment of patriotism.


In December 1856, I met, by appointment, at Jericho the Rev. A. A.
Isaacs, and my friend James Graham, who were going with photographic
apparatus to take views at the site called Wadi Gumran, near 'Ain
Feshkah, where a few years before M. de Saulcy, under the guidance of an
ardent imagination, believed he had found extensive and cyclopean remains
of the city Gomorrah, and had published an account of that interesting

It was on Christmas eve that we rose early by starlight, and had our cups
of coffee in the open air, beside the _Kala'at er Reehha_, (Castle of
Jericho,) while the tents were being struck and rolled up for returning
to Jerusalem, where we were to meet them at night.

Only the artistic apparatus and a small canteen were to accompany us; but
the muleteer for these was even more dilatory in his preparations than is
usual with his professional brethren--and that is saying much; no doubt
he entertained a dread of visiting the Dead Sea at points out of the
beaten track for travellers; considerable time was also occupied in
getting a stone out of the mule's shoe; then just as that was
triumphantly effected, my mare happened to bolt off free into the
wilderness; when she was recovered, it was ascertained that my cloak was
lost from her back; during the search for this, the guide abandoned us,
and it was with much difficulty that we hired one from Jericho.

At length we commenced the march, leaving the kawwas to look for the
cloak, (which, however, he did not succeed in recovering; it would be a
prize for the thieves of the village, or even, if it should fall in their
way, for one of the Bashi-bozuk,) and got to _'Ain Feshkah_, much in need
of a real breakfast.  There the water was found to be too brackish for
use--as unpalatable, probably, as the water of 'Ain es Sultan was before
being healed by the prophet Elisha; so we drank native wine instead of
coffee, while seated among tall reeds of the marshy ground, and not
pleased with the mephitic odour all around us.

Our photographers having ascertained the site for their researches by
means of the guide, and by the indications furnished in the work of De
Saulcy; they set themselves to work, during which they were frequently
uttering ejaculations at the exaggerations of size and quantity made by
my French friend.  The cyclopean ruins seemed to us nothing but remnants
of water-courses for irrigation of plantations, such as may be seen in
the neighbourhood of Elisha's fountain, or heaps of boulders, etc., that
had been rolled down from the adjacent cliffs by natural causes during a
succession of ages.

Mr Isaacs has since published a book descriptive of this expedition,
containing illustrations from his photographs taken on the spot.  In this
he has given the reasons for our differing from M. de Saulcy, and
considering his theories unfounded.

At the end of a strip of beach, which the discoverer calls "the plain,"
the cliffs have a narrow crevasse, down which water rushes in the season
when there is water to form a cascade.  This is difficult to reach from
"the plain," and very narrow; and it is what our Arabs called the Wadi
Gumran.  In front of this opening is a hill with some ruins upon it;
thither we mounted easily, and saw vestiges of some ancient fort with a

When all the observations were taken upon points considered necessary, we
prepared to return home by way of Mar Saba, hardly expecting to arrive by
daylight at Jerusalem.  We were, however, desirous of spending Christmas
day there rather than in the bleak wilderness.

On the way we fortunately got some camel's milk from a party passing near
us.  The weather was hot, but exceedingly clear.  The Salt mountain of
Sodom, (Khash'm Usdum,) showed itself well at the southern extremity of
the lake, thirty miles distant; and from a raised level near its northern
end we gained superb views of Mount Hermon (Jebel esh Shaikh) in the
Anti-Lebanon, capped with snow.  This was entirely unexpected and
gratifying; but I could nowhere find a spot from which both Hermon and
Sodom could be seen at once.  Perhaps such a view may be had somewhere on
the hills.

We turned aside through the _Wadi Dubber_, as the guide termed it, within
a circuitous winding, out of which, at a spot called 'Ain Merubba', I had
passed a night in the open air some years before.

Long, dreary, and tiresome was the journey; the two Bashi-bozuk men
complained of it as much as we did.  At sunset we came to a well with
some water left in troughs near it, but not enough for all our horses,
and we had no means of getting more out of the well.  This was in a wide,
treeless, trackless wilderness.

No one of our party felt quite sure of being on the true road, but we
followed slight tracks in the general direction in which the convent lay;
we guessed and went on.  Occasionally we got sight of the summit of the
Frank mountain or lost it again, according to the rise or fall of the
ground.  Conversation flagged; but at length we struck up a Christmas
hymn to enliven us.

In the valley of Mar Saba we saw lights in the convent, but passed on.
Saw an Arab encampment, with fire and lights glimmering, where the dogs
came out to bark at us; another such in half an hour more; and a larger
camp in another half-hour, where men were discussing matters with much
vociferation in a cavern by a blazing fire; a scout called out, inquiring
if we were friends or foes?

The night grew very cold, and I should have been glad had my cloak not
been lost near Jericho.  The temperature differed greatly from that of
the Dead Sea--a keen wind was in keeping with the end of December.  The
stars were most brilliant: Venus richly lustrous; Sirius, dazzling; and
the huge Orion showing to best advantage.  The road was alternately rough
in the valley, or over slippery ledges.  At length, however, we got
cheered by coming to known objects.  Passed Beer Eyoob, (En Rogel,) and
saw the battlemented walls of the Holy City sharply marked against the

The key had been left by the authorities at the city gate, to allow of
our admission; but the rusty lock required a long time for turning it,
and the heavy hinges of the large gate moved very slowly, at least so it
seemed in our impatience to reach home.

                                * * * * *

It is said above that I once spent a night at the 'Ain Merubba'--this was
on the occasion of an attempt, which ended in failure, to reach 'Ain Jidi
(En-gaddi) from the 'Ain Feshkah in the common way of travelling. {419}

Hhamdan, Shaikh of the Ta'amra, with about a dozen of his men, escorted
me and one kawwas in that direction.  Instead of proceeding to Jericho or
Elisha's fountain, we turned aside into the wildest of wildernesses for
passing the night.  Traversing the length of an extremely narrow ridge,
something like the back of a knife, we descended to a great depth below;
but the risk being judged too great for conveying the tent and bed over
there by the mule, these were left spread upon the ground for the night
under the canopy of heaven; while the men carried our food for us to make
the evening meal.  Crawling or sliding, and leading the horses gently, we
got to the bottom, and then followed up a very narrow glen, winding in
and out, and round about between extraordinary precipices rising to
enormous heights, till all at once the men halted, shouted, and sang, and
stripped themselves to bathe in small pools formed in holes of the rock
by settlements of rain-water.

This was our halting-place, but the scene beggars all power of
description.  We were shut into a contracted glen by a maze of tortuous
windings, between mountains of yellow marl on either side; but broken,
rugged, naked of all vegetation,--referring one's imagination to the
period when the earth was yet "without form and void," or to the
subsiding of the deluge from which Noah was delivered.

Looking upwards to a great height we could just see the tops of the
imprisoning hills gilded awhile by the setting sun, and a small space of
blue making up the interval between the precipices.  Those precipices
were not, however, entirely yellow, but variegated with occasional red or
somewhat of brown ochre.  So fantastic in position or shape were the
masses hurled or piled about, and the place so utterly removed "from
humanity's reach," that it might be imagined suitable to mould the genius
of Martin into the most extravagant conceptions of chaos, or to suggest
the colouring of Turner without his indistinctness of outline.

The echoes of the men's voices and bursts of laughter (the latter so
uncommon among Arabs) when splashing in the water, were reverberated from
hill to hill and back again; but there were no wild birds among the rocks
to scream in rejoinder as at Petra.

After a time a voice was heard from above, very high, (it is wonderful
how far the human voice is carried in that pure atmosphere and in such a
locality,) and on looking up I saw a dark speck against the sky waving
his arms about.  It was one of the Ta'amra asking if he should bring down
my mattress.  Consent was given, and, behold, down came tumbling from
rock to rock the mattress and blanket tied up into a parcel; when
approaching near us, it was taken up by the man who followed it, and
carried on his back; and when still nearer to us it was carefully borne
between two men.  Thus I enjoyed the distinction above all the rest of
having a mattress to lie upon; the shaikh had a couple of cloaks, the
kawwas had one, and the others were utterly without such luxurious
accessories, and slept profoundly.

Our people called the place _'Ain Merubba'_, (the square fountain.)  I
saw no fountain of any form, but there must have been one, for we had a
supply of good water, and the designation "'Ain," or fountain, is one of
too serious importance to be employed for any but its literal

Very early in the morning we started afresh, and took the beach of the
lake towards 'Ain Feshkah.

A great part of the day was spent in clambering our ponies over broken
rocks of a succession of promontories, one following another, where it
seemed that no creatures but goats could make way; the Arabs protesting
all the while that the attempt was hopeless, and besides, that the
distance even over better ground was too great for one day's march.

At length I relinquished the undertaking to reach 'Ain Jidi by that way,
and for that year had no leisure from business to try it from other

Hhamdan and I sat on a rock in his free open air dominion, discussing
possibilities, and what 'Ain Jidi was like, as well as the "Ladder of
Terabeh," (see p. 334.)  At length we rose and turned towards Jerusalem.
I am not sure that I ever saw him again, for not long afterwards he was
drowned in the Jordan while attempting to swim his horse through the
stream at its highest, after assisting in a battle on the side of the
Deab 'Adwan.


On the crest of a high hill two or three hours west from Jerusalem,
stands the village of Soba, and it has long been imagined to be Modin,
the birth-place and burial-place of the Maccabaean heroes; though I never
heard any reason assigned for that identification, except the
circumstance of the sea being visible from it, and therefore of its being
visible from the sea, which was supposed to tally with the description
given in 1 Macc. xiii., 27-30, of the monuments erected there,--"Simon
also built a monument upon the sepulchre of his father and his brethren,
and raised it aloft to the sight, with hewn stone behind and before.
Moreover, he set up seven pyramids, one against another, for his father,
and his mother, and his four brethren.  And in these he made cunning
devices, about the which he set great pillars, and upon the pillars he
made all their armour for a perpetual memory; and by the armour ships
carved, that they might be seen of all that sail on the sea.  This is the
sepulchre which he made at Modin, and it standeth yet unto this day."

I never was persuaded that the words implied that ships carved on pillars
at Soba, could be distinguished from the sea, or even that the columns
themselves were visible from ships off the coast; but only this, that the
deliverers of their country from the intolerable yoke of the Syrians,
having opened up communication with the Grecians and Romans, marine
intercourse had become more frequent than before, a matter that the
Maccabaean family were proud of; and therefore they had ships carved on
the pillars, as might be observed by seafaring people who might go there;
yet, whatever the words might signify, they could not prove that Modin
was so far inland, and among the hills, as Soba.

However, in 1858, I went with my son and a couple of friends to inspect
the place itself, considering it at least worth while to make one's own
observations on the spot.

We passed through _'Ain Carem_, the _Karem_ of the Septuagint, to
_Sattaf_, and rested during the heat of the day in a vineyard, near a
spring of water and plots of garden vegetables, belonging to the few
houses that had been rebuilt after several years of devastation by
village warfare.

The approach to the place from any direction is through the very rough
torrent bed of the Wadi Bait Hhaneena, and along very narrow ledges upon
the sides of steep hills, quite as perilous as any that are used for
travelling in any part of the Lebanon; too dangerous to admit of
dismounting and leading the horse after the risk has once begun, by far
the safest method of advancing is to hold the reins very loose, and if
you wish it, to shut your eyes.

Opposite to Sattaf, directly across the valley, the Latins had lately
rebuilt a small chapel of former times, said to have been the prison of
John the Baptist; they name it the Chapel of the _Hhabees_, _i.e._, the
imprisoned one.

Leaving Sattaf we gradually ascended to Soba; at first through lemon and
orange plantations near the water, and then through vineyards with a few
pomegranate-trees interspersed.

It is noteworthy how, throughout most of the tribe of Judah, small
springs of water are found dribbling from the rocks, (besides the larger
sources of Urtas, Lifta, Faghoor 'Aroob, Dirweh, and Hebron,) which were
doubtless more copious in the ancient times, when the land was more
clothed with timber, and there were men, industrious men, aware of their
blessings, and ready to prevent the streams from slipping away beneath
the seams of limestone formation.

At Soba we mounted the steep hill to the _Shooneh_, or small look-out
tower at the summit, enjoying the breadth of landscape and the stretch of
the Mediterranean before our eyes.

In the village we found remains of old masonry, most likely the basement
of a fortification of early Saracenic or the Crusaders' era; besides
which there was a piece of wall in excellent condition of the best
character of Jewish rabbeted stones.

One man invited us to see some old stones inside of his house; but they
formed a portion of the basement above-mentioned, against which the rest
of his house was built.  The people were unanimous in declaring that
there was nothing else of such a nature in the village.  So that our
researches issued in no corroboration of Soba being Modin.

Leaving the place we descended to the high road of Jaffa to Jerusalem,
and saw a number of olive-trees dead of age; none of us, however long
resident in Palestine, had seen such before or elsewhere; we concluded
them to have been withered by age from their bearing no visible tokens of
destruction, while the ground was well ploughed around them, and from
finding others near them in progressive stages of decay, down to the
utter extinction of foliage.

Arrived at _Kaloneh_ upon the highway, certainly the site of a Roman
garrison or "colonia," (see Acts xvi. 12,) leaving Kustul behind, which
is also a derivation from the Latin word for a castle.

Near the bridge of Kaloneh, where there are good specimens of ancient
rabbeted stones, one gets a glimpse of 'Ain Carem through the olive
plantation; and the return that day was by a cross way from _Dair Yaseen_
through vineyards to Jerusalem.

                                * * * * *

It is only at a comparatively late period that attention has been
directed to the text of Eusebius and Jerome in the "Onomasticon," where
it is distinctly said that Modin was near Lydd, and that the monuments
were at that time (in the fourth century) still shown there.

Porter considers that therefore _Latroon_ is the true site of Modin: in
this supposition I wish to concur; for the general run of the Maccabaean
history becomes peculiarly intelligible when read with the idea in the
mind that Modin lay in just such a situation, namely, upon a hill, rising
alone from the great plain, but adjacent to the mountain ridge, and to
defiles into which the insurgents might easily retire, or from which they
might issue suddenly and surprise regular armies in their camp.  I know
of no place so suitable for such operations as Latroon.

The word [Greek text], used for the armour and the ships, must mean
"carved in relievo," and such objects could never be distinguished by
persons actually passing upon the sea, if placed either at Soba, Latroon,
Lydd, or even Jaffa; it is difficult enough to imagine that the pyramids
and columns were visible from the sea at Latroon.


There are two villages in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem bearing the name
of Bait Sahhoor.  One lies near to the city, beyond En-Rogel, a little
way down the valley of the Kedron; the other is farther off, close under
Bethlehem.  By way of distinction, the former is called "Bait Sahhoor of
the Wadi," and the latter, "Bait Sahhoor of the Christians."  I think
that it can be shown that these places, though now fallen from their high
estate, once played their part in important events,--that Bait Sahhoor of
the Wadi is identical with Bethsura,--and that Bait Sahhoor of the
Christians is identical with Bath Zacharias--both of Maccabaean history.

In the year 150 of the Seleucidan era, being the fifth year of the
liberty of Zion, (the term used upon the Maccabaean coins,) a vast army
of Syrians invaded Palestine from Antioch, headed by King Antiochus
Eupator, in the twelfth year of his age, and under the official command
of Lysias, one of his relatives.  The army consisted of both subjects and
hired aliens, even from the islands of the sea.  They numbered "a hundred
thousand infantry, and twenty thousand cavalry, with thirty-two elephants
exercised in battle," (I Macc. vi. 30.)

The object of the expedition was to crush the Maccabaean insurrection,
and wipe out the disgrace of defeats already sustained.  The first
attempt was to be the relief of the garrison at Jerusalem, which was at
this time beleaguered by Judas from the temple part of the city.

"The army was very great and mighty," (ver. 41.)  "When the sun shone
upon the shields of gold and brass, the mountains glistered therewith,
and shined like lamps of fire," (ver. 39.)  Each of the thirty-two
elephants was attended by "a thousand men armed with coats of mail, and
with helmets of brass on their heads; and besides this, for every beast
was ordained five hundred horsemen of the best--these were ready at every
occasion: wheresoever the beast was, and whithersoever the beast went
they went also, neither departed they from him; and upon the beasts were
there strong towers of wood, which covered every one of them, and were
girt fast unto them with devices; there were upon every one thirty-two
strong men that fought upon them, beside the Indian that ruled him,"
(ver. 35, etc.)

This strange host marched along the Philistine plain southwards to
Idumea, which is on the south of Hebron: this being the only way for such
an army and its elephants to get at Jerusalem.  Thence they swept the
land before them northwards, "and pitched against Bethsura, which they
assaulted many days, making engines of war, but they of the city came out
and fought valiantly," (ver. 31.)

Whereupon Judas desisted from his siege of the citadel--which, I may
remark in passing, must have been on Acra, not like David's citadel taken
from the Jebusites, on Zion--and hastened to attack the royal host,
mighty though it was.

Some have supposed that Bethsura is to be found at Bait Zur, near Hebron,
the Beth Zur of Josh. xv. 33; whereas this place is more than a hundred
furlongs from Jerusalem, being not much more than an hour (north) from
Hebron, and is altogether too far removed to answer the description of
Bethsura, and the operations carried on there, close to the Holy City.

The 5th verse of the 11th chapter of 2 Maccabees sets the whole question
at rest; the words are distinctly, "So he (Lysias) came to Judea and drew
near to Bethsura, which was a strong town, but distant from Jerusalem
_about five furlongs_, and he laid sore siege unto it."  Again,
immediately after taking the city of Jerusalem and dedicating the temple,
Judas "fortified Bethsura in order to preserve it," (that is, Mount
Zion,) that the people might have a defence against Idumea, (I Macc. iv.
61.)  And the accusation which had been formerly made to the King
Antiochus Epiphanes in Persia against Judas and his men was "that they
had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls as before, and his city
Bethsura;" also to the present king at Antioch, "that the sanctuary also
and Bethsura have they fortified," (chap. vi. 7, 26.)  It is clear that
one was an outwork of the other, Bethsura being the defence of Jerusalem
against incursions from the south.

I know not how to doubt that Bait Sahhoor of the valley is the very
place.  It lies upon a lofty hill across the valley not far beyond
En-Rogel.  This is at present a wretched village, only inhabited for a
few weeks in the year; but the position is naturally one of great
strength.  The distance from the city answers precisely the requirements
of the history,--a signal by trumpet, if not the human voice, could be
heard from one garrison to the other.  I have ridden repeatedly to the
spot and examined the ground.  The south-eastern angle of the temple wall
at Jerusalem (where the great stones are found) is distinctly visible
from the houses.  I sat there upon my horse and remarked how unassailable
by cavalry and elephants this site must have been, and how great its
value for a military outwork to the sanctuary of the temple.  The
pediment and moulding of a column lay at my feet,--around and opposite
across the valley were numerous sepulchres hewn in the solid rock; yet
the infantry of the Syrians were sufficient to overwhelm the gallant
defenders.  Judas in this emergency resolved to come to their relief,
raising the siege of the citadel and outflanking the enemy.  For this
purpose he "pitched at Bath Zacharias over against the king's camp,"
(ver. 32.)  This was seventy stadia, or nearly nine Roman, or eight and a
half English miles distant from Bethsura, (Josephus' Antiq. xii. 9, 4.)
I believe Bath Zacharias to be the village which now bears the name of
"Bait Sahhoor of the Christians," close to Bethlehem. {432}  I have
ridden over the space between the two villages called Bait Sahhoor; the
distance upon a well marked and rather winding road, answers well to the
description of the historian.  The stratagem of Judas becomes here very
intelligible, which was to take the invaders in the rear, and placing
them between two hostile Jewish forces, to draw away the main attack from
Bethsura and Jerusalem; besides cutting off any assistance from the
south.  Antiochus did face round in order to attack him, and was met in
narrow straits between the two localities.  This I take to be the broken
ground south-east of Mar Elias, where certainly it would be just as
impossible now for two elephants to go abreast as it was when Josephus
wrote his lively description of the engagement that ensued; of the shouts
of the men echoing among the mountains, and the glitter of the rising sun
upon the polished accoutrements.  It was summer, for they excited the
elephants with the blood of the grape and the mulberry.  The road is to
this day defined by true tokens of antiquity, such as lines of stones
covered with hoary lichen, old cisterns, especially a noble one called
the _Beer el Kott_, with here and there steps cut in the shelves of solid
rock.  The last part of the road on the south is among slippery, rocky,
narrow defiles and paths, half-way down the hill-sides.

Here six hundred of the Syrian army were cut off and Eleazar, the heroic
brother of Judas, was crushed under an elephant which he had killed.  Yet
the fortune of the day was not decisive in favour of the Maccabaean army,
which retired and entrenched itself within the temple fortress.

The outlying post of Bethsura was obliged to capitulate.

Philological grounds for the above identification are not wanting.
Bethsura and Bath Zacharias may have easily represented the Arabic or
Hebrew form of Bait Sahhoor.  The guttural letter in the middle naturally
disappears in the Greek text, just as the Greek word "Assidean"
represents the Hebrew Chasidim in the same history.

The following is a simple demonstration of the transition:--

[Picture: Transition from Hebrew via Greek to Arabic]

It may be asked, why did neither Josephus nor the author of the Books of
Maccabees tell us that Beth Zachariah was near Bethlehem?  I answer:
first, the narrative did not make this necessary; secondly, Bethlehem was
then "among the least of the thousands of Judah," her great day had not
yet arrived; and thus it might have been quite as necessary to say that
Bethlehem was near Beth Zachariah, as to say that Beth Zachariah was near

The modern name "Bait Sahhoor of the Christians" arises most likely from
the fact that a majority of the inhabitants,--thirty families to twenty
in the year 1851,--were of that religion, and from its nearness to the
field where it is believed the angels appeared to the shepherds
announcing the birth of Christ, with its subterranean chapel, the crypt
of a large church in former times.

The other Bait Sahhoor (El Wadiyeh) is so named from its position on the
side of the Wadi in Nar, or valley of the Kedron.  It is only
occasionally inhabited, the people who claim it being too few to clear
out the encumbered cisterns for their use, but prefer to identify
themselves during most of the year with other villages, such as Siloam
near at hand, where water is more abundant.


At about seven miles from Jerusalem lie the Pools of Solomon, commonly
called the "Burak," upon the road to Hebron, which passes by the head of
the westernmost of them, on the left hand of the traveller to that city;
while immediately on the right hand, stands a hill with some cultivation
of vineyards and fig-trees, with a few olive-trees; apparently half-way
up that hill is a stone cottage, roughly but well built.  It is of that
cottage and its grounds that I am about to speak, for there I resided
with my family for some weeks in 1860, and through the summer of 1862.

There is no village close at hand, the nearest one being _El Khud'r_, (or
St George, so named from a small Greek convent in its midst,) which,
however, is only visible from the highway for a few minutes at a
particular bend of the road before reaching the Pools; the next nearest,
but in the opposite or eastern direction, is Urtas, with its profitable
cultivation, nestled in a well-watered valley.

After these, in other directions again, are _Bait Jala_, near Rachel's
sepulchre, and Bethlehem, the sacred town whose name is echoed wherever
Christ is mentioned throughout the whole world, and will continue to do
so till the consummation of all things,--"there is no speech or language
where its name is not heard."

Adjoining the Pools is the shell of a dilapidated khan, of old Saracenic
period, the outer enclosure alone being now entire.  Two or three
Bashi-bozuk soldiers used to be stationed there, living in wretched
hovels inside the enclosure, made of fallen building stones, put together
with mud.  On account of this being a government post, the peasantry of
the country, ignorant of all the world but themselves, denominate this
old square wall, "The Castle," and that name is repeated by dragomans to
their European employers.

These were our nearest neighbours.

Close to the khan-gate and to the Pools is a perennial spring of
excellent water, which, of course, is of great value, and considering how
several roads meet at that point, and what a diversity of character there
is continually passing or halting there, it would seem to form the
perfection of an opening scene to some romantic tale.

Thus the Hebron highway lay between the Pools, with the khan on one side,
and the Bakoosh hill on the other, and no person or quadruped could pass
along it unobserved from our window.

From the cottage, the more extended prospect comprised the stony,
treeless hills in every direction, the Pools forming the head of the
valley leading to Urtas, and the outskirt beginning of green cultivation
there; then the streets and houses of Bethlehem; also the Frank mountain;
and at the back of all the Moab range of mountains.

               [Picture: Ancient Sepulchre on the Bakoosh]

Within the wall enclosing the property of the cottage, with its fruit
trees already mentioned, there is one of the little round towers such as
are commonly seen about Bethlehem for summer residence of the cultivator
and his family during the season of fruit ripening, and which are meant
by the Biblical term of a tower built in the midst of a vineyard, (see
Matthew xxi. 33, and Isaiah v. 2.)  It is remarkable how perfectly
circular these are always built, though so small in size.  We had also a
receptacle for beehives, and an ancient sepulchre.

The hill rises very steeply, but being as usual formed into ledges or
terraces, upon one of these, in a corner near the wall, the stable was
constructed of a small tent, near a big tree, within the shadow of which,
and of a bank, the horses were picketed.

Upon the other ledges were arranged the tents for sleeping in at night,
and alongside of the cottage a kitchen was made of a wall and a roof made
of branches of trees brought from a distance.

Such was our abode in the pure mountain breezes, with unclouded sunshine,
and plenty of good spring water within reach.

Inside the stone walls of the house we stayed during the heat of the day;
the children learned their lessons there, and I transacted business in
writing, when my presence in Jerusalem was not absolutely required by
those carrying on the current daily affairs; indeed the reason for
resorting to this place was the necessity for obtaining recruitment of
health, after a serious illness brought on by arduous labour.  Had not
unforeseen anxieties come upon us, no lot on earth could have been more
perfectly delicious in the quality of enjoyment, both for body and
spirit, than that sojourn upon the wild hill; among ourselves were
innocence and union, consequently peace; time was profitably spent; and
our recreations were, practice in the tonic sol-fa singing lessons, with
sketching and rambling on foot or on horseback over the breezy heights of

And whether by evening twilight, or at the rising of the sun out of the
Moab mountains, or earlier still, by summer morning starlight, when
Sirius and Canopus (the latter unseen in England) vied with each other in
sparkling their varied colours to praise their Maker in the firmament,
His handiwork; those rambles were sources of delight that cannot be
expressed in human language; they were, however, not novelties after so
many years' residence in that Asiatic climate, but had become wrought
into our very existence.

Our Sabbaths were happy and conscientiously observed; we kept up the
services of the Church of England as far as practicable, and sometimes
had a visitor to join us in the same, not omitting the hymn singing.

The two domestic servants were of different Christian communities; for
the woman was a Latin, and would sometimes repair to her church-service
at Bethlehem, and the Abyssinian lad might be heard morning and evening,
or at night in the moonlight--such moonlight as we had there!--reading
the Gospels and Psalms in his soft native language, or even singing to a
kirar (or lute) of his own making, hymns with a chorus of "Alleluia,

Another of our gratifications should not be omitted, namely, the hearing
of the large church bell of the Latins in Bethlehem on certain occasions,
and always on Sunday mornings; at the moment of the sun peering over the
eastern horizon that great bell struck, and was followed by a gush of the
sweetest irregular music from smaller bells, probably belonging to the
Greeks, and then by the nakoos (plank) of the Armenians, a relic of their
primitive customs, serving for a bell, {440}--all these acting with one
consent and with one intention, that of celebrating "the Lord's day," as
the early Christians delighted to call the first day of the week.

From our window we had the city of David and of David's Lord before us,
and over the window on the inside I had inscribed in large Arabic
inscription-characters, "O Son of David, have mercy upon us!" we had
therefore the writing and the town at the same glance of view.

We were not without visitors: sometimes a friend or two or three would
arrive from Jerusalem--travellers along the road would mount the hill to
see us--rabbis of Hebron on the way to Jerusalem, or Jews from the
distance of Tiberias passing to Hebron, would turn aside to pay their
respects--Arab chiefs, such as Ismaeen Hhamdan of the Ta'amra--Turkish
officers, or even the Pasha himself, found the way to the cottage--also
officers of the British navy, when visiting the sacred localities from
Jaffa.  Among these I would not forget the chaplain of one of our
men-of-war, who brought up ten of his best men, namely, the Bible and
temperance class under his charge, to see the venerated places,
Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Mount of Olives.  On one occasion we had a
surveying party with their instruments from H.M.S. _Firefly_, who passed
some nights with us.

On the higher boundary the land was still in its natural condition of
stones, fossil shells, and green shrubs with fragrant herbs.  There might
be seen occasionally starting up before the intruding wanderer,
partridges, hares, quails, the wild pigeon, the fox, or even

    "The wild gazelle on Judah's hills
       Exultingly would bound,"

and escape also, for I carried no gun with me.

Mounting still higher we came upon the _Dahar-es-Salahh_, a mountain
whence the prospect of all Philistia and the coast from almost Gaza to
Carmel expands like a map--no, rather like a thing of still life before
the eye, with the two seas, namely, the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea,
visible at once, with likewise the mountains of Samaria and Gerizim,
besides the Moab country eastward, and Jerusalem and Bethlehem nearer

Close at hand upon the mountain on which we thus stand, are vestiges of a
monastic house and chapel called "Khirbet el Kasees," (the priest's
ruins,) and even more interesting objects still, the remains of older
edifices, distinguished by ponderous rabbeted stones.

On the mountain top is a large oval space, which has been walled round,
fragments of the enclosure are easily traceable, as also some broken
columns, gray and weather-beaten.  This has every appearance of having
been one of the many sun-temples devoted to Baal by early Syrians.

By temple I here mean a succession of open-air courts, with a central
altar for sacrifice; a mound actually exists on the highest spot of
elevation, which may well have been the site of the altar.

What a vast prospect does this spot command, not only of landscape in
every direction, but of sky from which the false worshipper might survey
the sun's entire daily course, from its rising out of the vague remote
lands of "the children of the East," and riding in meridian splendour
over the land of Israel's God, till, slowly descending and cloudless to
the very last, it dips behind the blue waters of "the great sea!"  Alas!
to think that such a spot as this should ever have been desecrated by
worship of the creature within actual sight of that holy mountain where
the divine glory appeared, more dazzling than the brightest effulgence of
the created sun.

Sloping westwards from the _Dahar-es-Salahh_ were agreeable rides over a
wilderness of green shrubs with occasional pine and karoobah trees, and
rough rocks on the way to _Nahhaleen_ or _Bait Ezkareh_, from which we
catch a view of the valley of Shocoh, the scene of David's triumph over
Goliath, and beyond that the hill of Santa Anna at _Bait Jibreen_.  The
region there is lonely and silent, with some petty half-depopulated
villages in sight, but all far away; sometimes a couple or so of peasants
may be met upon the road driving an ass loaded with charcoal or broken
old roots of the evergreen oak.  Evening excursions in that direction
were not infrequent for the purpose of seeing the sun set into the sea,
from which the breeze came up so refreshingly.

The home resources gave us among the fruit trees, goldfinches, bee-eaters
in blue or green and gold, and beccaficas, the latter for food, but so
tame that they would stay upon the branches while the gun was levelled at
them; in fact, little Alexander, returning one day with several of them
that he had shot, complained of want of sport, quoting the lines of his
namesake Selkirk in Cowper,--"Their tameness is shocking to me."

Occasionally we got water-hens or coots that had been shot upon the Pools
of Solomon; only sometimes it was not possible to fish them out as they
fell into the water, and so became entangled among the gigantic weeds
that grow up from the bottom to the level of the surface, and among which
the men were afraid to venture their swimming.  Pelicans we did not see,
although one had been previously brought from thence to Jerusalem, and
was stuffed for the Museum.  Then we had water-cresses from the aqueduct,
at a place where its side was partly broken between the upper and the
second pool.  Often for a treat we had water particularly light for
drinking brought from the spring of Etam, (2 Chron. xi. 6.)  Figs and
grapes were furnished from the ground itself, and at the end of August
the Shaikh Jad Allah sent us a present of fresh honeycomb, according to
the custom on opening a hive at the end of summer, (in that country the
bees are never destroyed for the sake of the honey;) presents thereof are
sent round to neighbours, and of course presents of some other produce
are given in return.  Palestine is still a land abounding in honey.

Occasional incidents occurred on the plain at the foot of the hill,--such
as a long line of camels kneeling and growling upon the high road, while
their drivers were swimming during the blaze of noontide in the parts of
the large pool free from weeds; or military expeditions passing on to
Hebron during the night, and called up by bugle after resting a couple of
hours at the castle-gate; or camel-loads of pine-branches swinging in
stately procession from the southern hills beyond Hebron towards
Jerusalem, to furnish tabernacles for the Jewish festival; or an immense
party of Kerak people from beyond the Dead Sea, with their camels, asses,
mules, besides flocks, for sale, conveying butter and wheat to Jerusalem,
encamped below us and singing at their watch-fires by night.

Large fires were sometimes visible upon the Moab mountains at the
distance of thirty or forty miles in a straight line.  These may have
arisen from carelessness, or accidental circumstances, among either
standing corn or the heaps of harvest in the open air; or they may even
have been wilful conflagrations made by hostile tribes in their raids
upon each other.  In any case they showed that wherever such things
occurred in ancient times, Ruth the Moabitess, when settled in Bethlehem,
might still have been reminded in that way of her native country, which
lay before her view.

At the Bakoosh we heard the single gun-fire at sunrise or sunset while
the Pasha had his camp at Hebron; and from the highest part of our hill
could see the flash of the guns in the castle of Jerusalem when saluting
the birthday of Mohammed.

For domestic incidents we had the children pelting each other with acorns
by moonlight; bonfires made by them and the servants on the terrace to
show us the way when returning at a late hour from Jerusalem; large
bunches of grapes from the adjoining vineyard, the _Karaweesh_, suspended
against the wall, reserved to become raisins.  Then family presents upon
a birthday, all derived from the ground itself,--one person bringing a
bunch of wild thyme in purple blossom,--another some sprigs from a
terebinth tree, with the reviving odour of its gum that was exuding from
the bark,--and another a newly-caught chameleon.

The latter was for several days afterwards indulged with a fresh bough of
a tree for his residence, changed about, one day of oak, next of
terebinth, then of sumach, or of pine, etc.

Such was our "sweet home" and family life on the Byeways of Palestine.

But a time came when care and anxiety told heavily upon mine and my
wife's health.  For some days I was confined to bed in the tent, unable
to move up to the house; yet enjoying the reading of my chapters in
Hebrew in the land of Israel, or ruminating over the huge emphasis of St
Paul's Greek in 2 Cor. iv. 17, [Greek text].  The curtains of the tent
were thrown wide open at each side for the admission of air; the children
were playing or reading on the shady side of another tent; muleteer and
camel parties I could observe mounting or falling with the rises and dips
of the Hebron road; and the jingle of bells or the singing of the men was
audible or alternately lost according to the same circumstances.  I lay
watching the progress of sunshine or shadow around the Frank mountain as
the hours rolled on; then as evening approached the Egyptian groom took
down the Egyptian mare to water at the spring, followed by the foal of
pure Saklawi race, that never till the preceding day had had even so much
as a halter put across his head,--a Bashi-bozuk soldier with his pipe
looking on,--the Abyssinian lad carrying pitchers of water to the several
tents, and the pools of bright blue becoming darker blue when rippled by
the evening air.  All this was food for enjoyment of the picturesque, but
at the same time God Almighty was leading us into deep trials of faith in
Himself, and bringing out the value of that promise,--"When thou passest
through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they
shall not overflow thee."

As the autumn advanced, some slight sprinkling of rain fell--dews at
night were heavy--mists rose from below--mornings and evenings became
cooled--new flowers began to appear, such as the purple crocus, and
certain yellow blossoms belonging to the season, the name of which I do
not know.  We therefore began to take farewell rides about the
neighbourhood, as to places we were never to see again.  One of these was
to a very archaic pile of rude masonry, deeply weather-eaten, at a ruined
site called _Bait Saweer_, through green woods and arbutus-trees, glowing
with scarlet berries; a place which had only recently been brought to my
notice, and of which no European had any knowledge.

The old building, whose use we could not discover, was composed, not of
ordinary blocks of stone, but of huge flat slabs, unchiselled at edges or
corners, laid one over another, but forming decidedly an intentional
edifice.  It is well worth further examination.  At the time we had with
us no materials for sketching, and never had an opportunity of going
thither afterwards.

It lies among the wild green scene west from the Hebron road, near where,
on the opposite, or east side, is the opening of the Wadi 'Aroob, with
its copious springs.

Then we went to _Marseea'_, beyond the _Dair el Benat_--equally unknown
to Europeans--and, lastly, to the green slopes and precipices towards
_Nahhaleen_, where, lingering till after sunset, we became in a few
minutes enveloped in a cloud of mist tossed and rolled along by gusts of
wind, and several large eagles rose screaming from perches among rocks
below us into the misty air, as if rejoicing in the boisterous weather.

Three months before, we had been on the same spot at the moment of
sunset, and saw the whole Philistine plain hidden in a white mist in a
single minute, but, of course, far below us; and this, we were told, was
the usual state of things, and would remain so for another month, after
which the plain would have no mist, but we should have it all on the
mountains at sunset--so it was now found to be the case.

From one spot on our own grounds we were able to point out as objects in
the magnificent prospect--the Moab mountains, the crevasse of the Jabbok
into the Ghor, that of Calirrhoe into the Dead Sea, Hhalhhool near
Hebron, El Khud'r below us, Rachel's sepulchre, Bethlehem, Nebi Samwil,
the Scopus, Jerusalem, and our house there, to which we were soon to

Before, however, quitting this subject of the Bakoosh, I may refer to one
very special attraction that held us to the place, namely, an
agricultural undertaking in its neighbourhood.  A friend, of whom I hope
to speak more in another time and place, superintended for me the
rebuilding of an ancient Biblical village that lay a heap and a
desolation, and cleared out its spring of water, which, by being choked
up with rubbish, made its way unseen under ground, it thus became nearly
as copious as that alongside of Solomon's Pools.  I gathered people into
the village, vineyards were planted, crops were sown and reaped there,
taxes were paid to the government; and the vicinity, which previously had
been notorious for robberies on the Hebron road, became perfectly secure.

On one of my visits, a list was presented to me of ninety-eight
inhabitants, where a year and a half before there was not one.
Homesteads were rebuilt; the people possessed horned cattle and flocks of
sheep and goats, as well as beehives.  I saw women grinding at the mill,
and at one of the doors a cat and a kitten.  All was going on

Purer pleasure have I never experienced than when, in riding over
occasionally with our children, we saw the threshing of wheat and barley
in progress, and heard the women singing, or the little children shouting
at their games.  Sixty cows used to be driven at noon to drink at the

We returned to Jerusalem on the 21st of October, and on the 28th of
November that village was again a mass of ruin--the houses
demolished--the people dispersed--their newly-sown corn and the vineyards
ploughed over--the fine spring of water choked up once more--and my
Australian trees planted there torn up by the roots.  All this was
allowed to be done within nine miles of Jerusalem, to gratify persons
engaged in an intrigue which ended in deeds far worse than this.

Our village was _Faghoor_, and had been one of the ancient towns of the
tribe of Judah.  Its place in the Bible is Joshua xv., where it is found
in the Greek Septuagint together with Tekoah, Etham, and Bethlehem, all
noted places--neither of which is contained in the Hebrew text, and
therefore not in the English translation.

It seems difficult to account for this; but it may possibly be that
neither of these towns were ever in the Hebrew of that chapter, that they
were not well known at the time of the original Hebrew being written; but
that when the translation of the Septuagint was made, the writers knew by
other means, though living in Egypt, that Tekoah, Etham, Bethlehem, and
Faghoor had been for a long period famous within the tribe of Judah, and
therefore they filled up what seemed to them a deficiency in the


A.--Page 32.

The signs here referred to were guessed by Buckingham (about 1816) to be
possibly some distinctive tokens of Arab tribes; but he seemed rather
inclined to connect them with marks that are found in Indian caverns, or
those on the rocks about Mount Sinai.

He was thus nearer to the truth than the latest of travellers, De Saulcy,
who, with all his knowledge of Semitic alphabets, says of some of these
_graffiti_, or scratchings, at 'Amman, which he copied: "Tout cela, je
regrette fort, est lettre close pour moi.  Quelle est cette ecriture?  Je
l'ignore."  (Voyage en Terre Sainte.  Tom. i. p.256. Paris, 1865.)

They are characters adopted by Arabs to distinguish one tribe from
another, and commonly used for branding the camels on the shoulders and
haunches, by which means the animals may be recovered, if straying and
found by Arabs not hostile to the owners.

I have, however, seen them scratched upon walls in many places frequented
by Bedaween, as, for instance, in the ruined convents, churches, etc., on
the plain of the Jordan, and occasionally, as at 'Amman, several such
cyphers are united into one complex character.

                     [Picture: Appendix A characters]

                                * * * * *

B.--Page 367.

Considerable discrepancy may be found among the transcripts furnished by
travellers in their published works, of the Greek votive inscriptions
about the entrance of the cavern of Pan at Banias.

I give the following as the result of careful study of them in 1849, and
again, after the lapse of six years, in 1855, each time examining the
writing, under varieties of light and shade, at different hours of the

There are some other inscriptions, which are entirely blackened with
smoke, in the niches, made perhaps by ancient burning of lamps or of
incense there.  This is particularly the case in one large hollow made in
the rock, which has almost its whole surface covered with Greek writing.
Within this hollow a niche is cut out, now empty.

                       [Picture: Sculptured niche]

One small niche has its inscription so much defaced by violence that only
the letters [Greek text] are connectedly legible.

This sculptured niche has no inscription, but only the pedestal on which
the statue was placed.

                       [Picture: Ornamental niche]

This ornamental niche has beneath it, on a tablet, the words as at
present legible.

The inscription in the highest situation is as follows:--

             [Picture: Inscription in the highest situation]

Beneath this is the following:--

                      [Picture: Inscription beneath]

Above the smoked recess, but below an upper niche, we find--

                 [Picture: Inscription below upper niche]

In this inscription "the emperors" can mean no others than Vespasian and
Titus, who had had one and the same Triumph in Rome on account of the
conquest of Judea; and this very title is used in Josephus, ("Wars," vii.
xi. 4,)

                          [Picture: Greek title]

It is peculiarly suitable to that place, inasmuch as Titus, previous to
leaving the country, had celebrated there the birthday of his brother
Domitian, with magnificent public spectacles--amid which, however, more
than 2500 Jews were destroyed for popular amusement, by burning,
fighting, and in combats with wild beasts.

Although these are copied with much painstaking, there may be errors
unperceived in some of the letters; but at least one of the words is
misspelt by the provincial artist, namely, [Greek word].


N.B.--_Names with the asterisk are ancient and not modern_.


Aaron's tomb 306
Abadiyeh 80 106
Abasiyeh 254
Abdoon 34
Abeih 392
Abu Atabeh 239
Abu Dis 1
Abu Mus-hhaf 47
Abu'n Jaib (Jaim) 337
Abu Sabakh 203
Acre 237
Adasa 200
Afeeri 193
Afooleh 227
Ahhsaniyeh 183
Ai 204
'Ainab 391
'Ain 'Anoob 390 391
'Ain 'Aroos 324
'Ain Atha 387
'Ain Bedawiyeh 240 244
'Ain Berweh 241
'Ain Besaba 390
'Ain Carem 424
'Ain Dirweh 151 194 290
'Ain Ghazal 34
'Ain Ghazal 224
'Ain Hhood 224
'Ain Jadoor 41
'Ain Jidi 333
'Ain Kaimoon 230
'Ain Kesoor 392
'Ain Mel'hh 296
'Ain Mellahhah 371
'Ain Merubba' 48
'Ain Merubba' 417 419
'Ain Nebel 259 266
'Ain Noom 270
'Ain Saadeh 235 245 250
'Ain Shems 156
'Ain Sufsafeh 231 250
'Ain Taasan 321
'Ain Weibeh 302
'Ain Yebrood 89
'Ain Zera'ah 238
Aita 265
Aituran 387
Ajjeh 126 219
'Ajloon 38 56 69 79
'Ajoor 153
'Akir 157
Alma 108
'Alman 201
'Almeet 201
'Amman 24-36
Amooriah 156
'Anata 200 210
'Aneen 251
Annabeh 127
'Arabah 301 320 etc
'Arabeh 217 etc 251
'Arabet el Battoof 241
'Arak el Ameer 19
'Arak Hala 183
'Arak Munshiyah 177
'Ararah 248
'Arkoob 147
'Arkoob Sahhaba 336
Arzoon 254
Ascalan 163 182
Asdood 164
'Asfi 234
'Asker 90
Atarah 126 215
Athleet 224
Atna 162
'Attar 183
Aujeh 133 134
Awali 348 412
'Azair 244
'Azoor 355 377


Bahhjah 239
Bait Ainoon 290
Bait Atab 147
Bait Dajan 163
Bait Duras 162
Bait Ezkareh 443
Bait Hhaneena 200
Bait Hhanoon 175
Bait Jala 436
Bait Jan 271
Bait Jirja 166
Bait Jibreen 178 443
Bait Nateef 147 149 196
Bait Nejed 176
Bait Sahhoor in Nasara 428
Bait Sahhoor el Wad 428
Bait Saweer 447
Bait Soor (see Bezur)
Bait Uksa 140
Bait Unah 140
Bait U'oon 257
Bait Uzan 219
Bait Ziz (Jiz) 157
Baka 247 249
Bakoosh 435 etc
*Balah 297
Banias 364 384 385
Barook 354 376 407 411
*Bashan 66
Batteer 195
Battoof 271
Bayroot 390
Beerain 291
Beeri 88
Beer Eyoob 418
Beer El Kott 433
Beer Mustafa 203
Beer Nebala 200
Beer es Seba (Beersheba) 189 etc
Beisan 94 96 etc
Beka' el Basha 40 46
Balameh 221
Beled esh Shai'kh 235 245 247 250
Belhhamiyeh 80
Belka 19 79
*Belus 239
Beni Naim 290 291
Beni Saheela 171
Berasheet 257
Berberah 165
Berga'an 45
Besheet 160
Buteadeen 405 etc
*Bethany 1
*Bethlehem 436 437 440
Beth Zacharias 432
Bezur 152 194 430
Bidias 254
Bint el Jebail 114 255 257 388
Bisrah 355 376
Boorj (near Hebron) 184 287
Boorj (near Saida) 253
Brair 176
Burak 435
Burka 214 219
Bursa 48
Burtaa 222
Bursheen 254
Buwairdeh 321


Caiffa 236
*Carmel 44 67 224
*Caesarea Philippi 364
Cocab el Hawa 80 82 83 103
Cocaba 360 381
Cuf'r Bera'am 121 388
Cuf'r Cana 126
Cuf'r Enji 57
Cuf'r Hhooneh 358 378
Cuf'r Ita 247
Cuf'r Kara 222
Cuf'r Menda 244
Cuf'r Natta 398
Cuf'r Rai 126 216
Cuf'r Ruman 127
Cuf'r Saba 132 etc
Cuf'r Yuba 58
Cuferain (beyond Jordan) 9
Cuferain (near Carmel) 251
Curnub 297


Dabook 39
Dahair el Hhumar 23 80
Dahar es Salahh 441
Daiket 'Arar 297
Dair 68
Dair 'Ammar 137
Dair el Belahh 169
Dair el Benat 448
Dair Dewan 203 204
Dair ed Duban 177
Dair Hhanna 240 272
Dair el Kamar 400 etc
Dair el Mokhallis 348 374 412
Dair el Musha'al 136
Dair el Mushmushi 377
Dair en Nakhaz 182
Dair Thecla 254
Dair Yaseen 427
Daliet Carmel 238
Daliet er Rohha 238 251
Damooneh 241
*Dan 362
Dar Joon 349 353
Dar Kanoon 254
Dar Meemas 254
Dar Shems 254
Dar Zibneh 254
Dead Sea 3 4 12 326 etc
Deaneh 197
Deheedeh 378
Dejajeh 157
Desrah 136
Dibneh 156
Dilathah 107
Dilbeh 193
Doheriyeh 192 193
Doomeen 238
Dothan 127 219 etc
Duhheish'meh 146
Durtghayer 254


Ebeleen 242 247
Ed Dair 169
Edjajeh 157
Eilaboon 240
Ekfairat 17
Ekwikat 239
Elah 150 151 153 196
'Elealeh 13 17 18
El 'Areesh 170
El Hhabees 425
El Khait 108
El Kharjeh 208
El Khud'r 146 435
El Mergab 34
El Muntar el Kassar 34
Er-Ram (beyond Jordan) 9
Er-Ram (near Jerusalem) 87
Er-Rihha 4 414
Esak 194
'Esfia 235 238
Es-Salt 12 17 33 41
Esh-Shemesani 33
Esh-Shwaifiyeh 33
Etam 444


Faghoor 449 etc
Fahh'mah 216
Falooja 176 182
Farah 108 260
Farra'an 127
Fendecomia 126 219
Ferdisia 127
Fooleh 227
Fort 183
Fountain of Apostles 2
Furadees 224


*Gadara 77
*Gath 157 163 183
Ghawair 324 325
Ghor 3 12 301
Ghoraniyeh 5
Ghujar 370
Ghutt 183
Ghuzzeh (Gaza) 166 etc
*Gilboa 67 102
Gumron 414 416


Haddata 257
Hadeth 390
Hafeereh 220
Haita ez Zoot 257
Harakat 252
Herfaish 270
*Hermon 67 78 264 359 364 371
Hhalhhool 194 291 449
Hhamameh 163
Hhaneen 266
Hhanooneh 136
Hharrasheh 140 141
Hharatheeyeh 234 246
Hhasbani 360 380
Hhasbeya 360 379 381 etc
Hhata 176
Hhatteen 126 240
Hheker Zaboot 13
Hhesban 13 16
Hhizmeh 201 209 210
Hhooleh (Lake) 361
Hhooleh 257 386
Hhubeen 147
Hhusan 147
*Hor 301 etc
*Hormah 299
Huneen 386
Hurbaj 236 247


Idsaid 182
Iksal 228
Ilmah 183
Ineer 376
Irtahh 127
Izereiriyeh 254


Ja'arah 247
Jadeerah 200
Jahharah 386
Jaida 246
Jalood 83
Janiah 138
Jarmuk 117 118 262
Jawah 17
Jeba' 126 219
Jeba' (Gibeah of Saul) 208
Jeba' 147
Jebel el Ghurb 297
Jebel Mahas 39
Jebel esh Shaikh (See Hermon)
Jebel Sherreh 305
Jehaarah 24
Jelaad 43 48
Jelboon (Gilboa) 96 227
Jelool 17
Jeneen 84 126 226
Jerash 18 48 etc
*Jericho (See Er-Rihha)
*Jeshimon 301
Jezzeen 357 377
Jifna 88
Jish 114 115 121 261
Jis'r el Kadi 399
Jit 222
*Jokneam 230
*Joktheel 337
Joon 348 353 373
*Jordan 5 6 77 104 105 364 380 384
Judaidah 183
Julis 182
Jurah 164


Kabatieh 219
*Kadesh Barnea 302
Kadis 107
Kadita 116
Kaimoon 230 250
Kala'at er Reehha 414
Kala'at Rubbad 44
Kala'at Subeibeh 365
Kalinsawa 127
Kalkeeleh 127
Kaloneh 426
Kanneer 223
Karatiya 176
Karaweesh 446
Kasimiyeh 253
Kassar Waijees 33
Kayaseer 94
Keelah 152 196
Kelt 3
Kerak 14 18 34
Khalsah 370
Khan em Meshettah 17
Khan Yunas 169 etc
Kharas 151 196
Khash'm Usdum 324 etc
Khatroon 3 202
Khirbet el Kasees 442
Khirbet en Nasara 183
Khirbet es Sar 38
Khirbet Saleekhi 47
Khirbet Sellim 255
Khuldah (beyond Jordan) 39
Khuldah (on the Plain) 157 196
Kifereh 83
Kobaibeh 183
Krishneh 203
Kubbet el Baul 297
Kubeibeh 160
Kubrus 222
Kuriet el 'Aneb 179
Kuriet es Sook 17
Kustul (beyond Jordan) 17
Kustul (near Jerusalem) 426


Lahh'm 183
Laithma 90
Latroon 427
Lejjoon 221 229 249 250
Lesed 149
Litani 359
Lubban 90
Lubieh 126 238


Ma'alool 246
Ma'an 192 301
Main 17
Maisera 44
Ma'kook 206
Ma'naeen 195
Manjah 17
Mar Saba 418
Marseea' 448
Martosiyah 183
Mazaal 224
Medeba 17
Mejama'a 71 104
Mejdal 163 182
Mejdal Yaba 127 128 etc
Mekebleh 228
Menzel el Basha 230
Merash 183
Meroon 117 etc
Merj ibn Amer 228 249
Merj ed Dom 187
Med Merka 34
Mesdar Aishah 34
Mesh-had 126
*Me-Yarkon 158
Mezer 67
Mezra'a 19 140
Mezra'ah 254
Mobugghuk 329
Modzha 224
Mohhrakah 233 237
Mokatta' 233
Mokhtarah 407 etc
*Moladah 296
*Moreh 90
Mujaidel 237 245
Mukhmas 207 210
Mukhneh 90
Munsoorah 183
Mushmusheh 249
Muzaikah 297
M'zeera'a 136


Naa'eea 165
Naaman 239
Na'ana 157
Na'oor 18 19
Nabloos 44 90
Nahhaleen 147 443 448
*Nazareth 126
Neab 241
Neba' 17
Nebi Hhood 56
Nebi Moosa 2
Nebi Osha 44
Nebi Samwil 44
Nebi Sari 136
Nebi Yunas 290
*Negeb 145
*Nimrin 126
Nooris 83
Nuba 152 196


Obeyah 183
*Olivet 1 16


*Parah 212
*Pelesheth 144
Petra 311 etc
Point Costigan 332
Point Molyneux 332


Quarantana 202


Ra'ana 157
Rabbah 34
Raineh 126
Rama 238 272
Ram Allah 87 143
Rameen 126
Rami 216
Ramlah 128 197
Ras el Ahhmar 108 114
Ras el 'Ain 131 132
Ras abu Ammar 147
Ras Kerker 135 137 etc
Rehhaniyeh 251
Remmoon 203 205 206
Resheef 242
Rubin 158
Rumaish 264 267
Ruman 48
Rumaneh 244
Rummet er Room 376
Runtieh 136


Safed 107 117 262 372
Safoot 47
Sagheefah 183
Saida 348 412
Saidoon 197
Salem 90
Salhhah 108 260
Salhhi 153
Salim 226
Salt Mountain 326
Samakh 76
Samek 17
Samma 71
Samooniah 246
Samua' 187
Sanneen 254
Sanoor 126
Sasa 121
Sattaf 424
Sawafeer Mesalkah 182
Sawafeer Odeh 182
Sawiyeh 90
*Scopus 199
Sebustieh 15 111 215 219
Se'eer 10
Seeleh 215 219
Seeleh (on Esdraelon) 226
Sefooriyeh 240
*Seir 305 306
*Selah 337
Selwan 1
Semsem 176
Semwan 239
Senabrah 182
Setcher (Seeker) 22
Sha'afat 86
Shaikh Aman 183
Shaikh el Bakkar 63
Shaikh Sad 231
Shakrah 257
Sharon 15 127 etc
Shefa 'Amer (beyond Jordan) 15
Shefa 'Amer (near Acre) 240 242 243 247
Shelaleh 238
Shemuata 239
Shemaniyeh 183
*Shephelah 145
Sheree'ah (See Jordan)
Shereeat el Menadherah 76
Shibtain 136
Shukbeh 136
Shukeef 254
Shutta 83
Sh'waifat 390
Sh'weikeh (Shocoh) 150 152 196 443
Sibta 193
Sik 313
Sindianeh 247
Sinjil 90
Siphla 145
Soba 423 425
Solam 227
Sora'a 156
Santa Anna 179 183 443
Suameh 224
Subariyeh 223
Sufah 299
Sufsafeh 231 250
Sukhneen 241
Sumkaniyeh 407


Ta'annuk 221 226
Tabakra 47
*Tabor 44 67 226
Taitaba 107 116
Tallooz 48
Tantoorah 224
Tarsheehhah 268
Tayibeh (beyond Jordan) 68 69
Tayibeh (near Jerusalem) 205 213
Teereh (on Sharon) 136
Teereh (in Galilee) 266
Teeri 224 238
Tela'at ed Dum 3
Tell 'Arad 293
Tell u'l 'Ejel 169
Tell el Hajjar 204
Tell el Kadi 362 384
Tell el Kasees 233
Tell es Safieh 177
Thekua' (Tekoa) 337
Terabeh 334 422
Thuggeret el Baider 33
*Thuggeret el Moghafer 48
Tiberias 78 105
Tibneen 255 264 387
Tibneh 156
Tibni 68
Timrah 175
Tool el Ker'm 127
Tubas 92
Tuleh 67
Tura 254
Tura'an 126


Umm el 'Aamed 17
Umm Bugghek 329
Umm ed Damaneer 47
Umm el 'Egher 47
Umm el Fahh'm 248 249 251
Umm Kais 62 71 72
Umm el Kanater 77 106
Umm Malfoof 33
Umm er Rumaneh 17
Umm Saidet 183
Umm Sheggar 17
Umm es Swaiweeneh 34
Umm ez Zeenat 251
Ursaifah 34
Urtas 435


Wadi Ahhmed 195
Wadi 'Arab (or Shaikh) 151 196
Wadi 'Arab 248
Wadi 'Aroob 448
Wadi Bait Hhaneena 424
Wadi Bedan 91
Wadi Berreh 82
Wadi Dubber 417
Wadi En-nab 91
Wadi Farah 210
Wadi Fara'ah 91
Wadi Fik'r 301
Wadi Fokeen 147
Wadi el Hharamiyeh 94
Wadi Hhuggereh 325
Wadi el Jaib 301 322
Wadi el Kasab 231
Wadi Keereh 232 235
Wadi el Kharnoob 136
Wadi Mel'hh 230 232
Wadi Moosa 316
Wadi Musurr 150
Wadi Nemela 318
Wadi Netheeleh 329
Wadi Pharaon 316
Wadi Soor 151
Wadi Sunt 150 154
Wadi Surar 158
Wadi Suaineet 207
Wadi Tayibeh 305
Wadi Zahari 72
Weli Jedro 247
Weli Sardoni 40


Yaabad 222
Yabneh 158 159
Yaero 126
Yafah 245
Yajoor 245 247 250
Yakook 125
Yarmuk 75
Yaroon 260 388
Yehudiyeh 257


Zacariah 154
Zaid 357 377
Zebdeh 222
Zeita 182
Zenabeh 127
*Zephath 299
Zer'een 67 83 226
Zerka 48 49
*Zin 301
Ziph 152 292
Zoghal 328
Zubairah 17
Zumareen 223 224
Zuwatah 219


{3}  This is one of the frequent instances of Arabic local names
preserving the sound, while departing from the signification.

{5}  This ford was called _Ghoraneyeh_.  The other is called _El

{17}  Tristram has since expressed (p. 535) a doubt of the verity of this
name of a site, but I had it given to me both at Heshbon and Jerash, and
De Saulcy has since been there.

{19}  How often have I regretted since that we did not know of the
existence of 'Arak el Ameer, which has of late commanded so much
interest.  We might have so easily turned aside for that short distance.

{20}  This word signifies "a desert."  It is often found in the Arabic
Bible, especially in the prophetic books.

{33}  See Appendix A.

{39}  The largest sort grown there.

{58}  The officer deputed from the Porte lives in a pretty village called
Cuf'r Yuba, and is said to have become enormously rich upon the levies
which he does not transmit to Constantinople.

{61}  Travellers of late report that enormous sums are exacted by the
'Adwan for their escort upon this same journey as ours.  It may,
therefore, be acceptable to learn what was our contract, and that it was
honourably acted upon--namely, three of the party to pay 1000 piastres
each, and 200 each for all the rest.  As there were twelve in the party,
the amount was

                                                           1000 x 3 = 3000
                                                            200 x 9 = 1800

This total we among ourselves divided equally, equal to 400 each.

We also agreed to make a present from each when in the territory, besides
giving a feast at 'Amman, and another at Jerash--the feasts were a mere

A hundred piastres came to rather less than a pound sterling.

I am glad to confirm the recent testimonies of Tristram and De Saulcy as
to the honourable and noble deportment of Gublan and the other leaders of
the 'Adwan people.

{65}  Were not these the altars or other objects employed in idolatrous
worship by the Geshurites and Maachathites who remained among the
Israelites of Gad and Reuben?--(See Josh. xiii. 13.)

{67}  I mean Jebel esh Shaikh of the Anti-Lebanon, as I do not believe in
the existence of any _little Hermon_ in the Bible.

{94}  He afterwards died of fever in my service, caught by rapid
travelling in the heat of July 1860, during the Lebanon insurrection,
whither he accompanied my Cancelliere to rescue some of the unfortunate
Christians in my district.

{109}  According to the Talmud, private roads were made four cubits wide;
public roads sixteen cubits; but the approaches to a city of refuge were
thirty-two cubits in width.  See Lightfoot's "Decas Chorographica," VII.
Latitudo viarum Tradunt Rabini.  Via privata [Hebrew text] est quatuor
cubitorum--via ab urbe in urbem est octo cubitorum--via publica [Hebrew
text] est sedecm cubitorum--via ad civitates refugii est triginta duorum
cubitorum."  Bava Batra fol., 100  From Lightfoot's "Centuria
Chorographica."  "Synhedrio incubuit vias ad civitates hasee accommodare
eas dilatando, atque omne offendiculum in quod titubare aut impingere
posses amovendo.  Non permissus in via ullus tumulus aut fluvius super
quem non esset pons erat que via illuc ducens ad minimum 32 cubitorum
lata atque in omni bivio, aut viarum partitione scriptum erat [Hebrew
text] _Refugium_ ne eo fugiens a via erraret."--Maimon in [Hebrew text]
cap. 8.

{110}  On visiting Kadis some years after, I was grieved to find all this
much demolished, and the ornamentation taken away, by Ali Bek, to adorn
the new works at his castle of Tibneen.

{111}  Since fallen almost to the ground.

{131a}  [Greek text].

{131b}  [Greek text].

{133}  I have been there three times, twice late in autumn, and once in
July, and always found water abundant.

{136}  Since writing the above I have seen the photograph taken of this
temple by the Palestine explorators in 1866.

{149}  I do not find this place in any lists or books of travels.

{155}  Since that journey I have been told by the country people that
between Gaza and Beersheba it is the practice to sow wheat very thinly
indeed, and to expect every seed to produce thirty to fifty stalks, and
every stalk to give forty seeds.

{182}  In a journey to Gaza from Hebron, in the spring season of 1853, I
was proceeding from the great oak down a long valley--but I was induced
to deviate from the direct line by the tidings of _Bait Jibreen_ being
infested or taken by the Tiyahah Arabs.

We everywhere found the peasantry armed, and on arriving before _Dair
Nahhaz_, almost within sight of that town, and communicating with the
village for water to drink, as I rested under a tree, Mohammed 'Abd en
Nebi sent me word that Bait Jibreen was recovered from the Arabs, and now
occupied by themselves; that thirty-five corpses of Arabs were lying
round Bait Jibreen, and one of the two Arab chiefs (Amer) was slain--he
himself was wounded in the knee.

From hence to Gaza we passed _Zeita_, where a breastwork had been hastily
thrown up by the peasantry, and into which a number of armed men rushed
from a concealment, and parleyed before they would allow us to pass on.
Then to _Falooja_, and between _Idsaid_ and _Karatiyah_ on our right, and
the Arak Munshiyah on the left.  Halted at Brair for the night.

The return from Gaza was by Ascalan, Mejdal, Julis, the two Sawafeers,
Kasteeneh, Mesmiyeh, and Latron, on the Jaffa road to Jerusalem.

{203}  Pronounced sometimes _Dewan_, sometimes _Debwan_.

{204}  _Beth_ is represented by the modern word _Dair_, and _Aven_ has
become _Ewan_, with the Syriac _d_' signifying _of_.

{207}  It is worthy of notice that Suwan (in Arabic) (diminutive,
_Suwaineet_) signifies "flint."  These rocks being flinty, it is possible
that _Seneh_ in Hebrew may have had the same meaning.

{217}  'Arabeh does not appear in any map before Vandevelde in 1854.

{230}  As Hebron, Bethshemesh, Gibeon, Shechem, Beth-horon, Ta'annuk,
Jeneen, etc., besides the cities of refuge.

{238}  It is worthy of note, that in this single place the ancient name
of Carmel is preserved among the people.  This being called _Daliet el
Carmel_ to distinguish it from the Dalieh of the Rohha district, yet the
denomination Carmel is not otherwise given to this mountain by the Arab
population.  Dalieh signifies "a vine," this, therefore, is the "vine of
Carmel," and Carmel itself signifies "God's vineyard!"

{243}  They afterwards dwindled to two families, the rest removing to
Caiffa as that port rose in prosperity.

{265}  Shakespeare; or as Ronsard has it:--

             "qui _tire l'ire_
    Des esprits mieux que je n'ecris."

{301}  Yet there was a "city of palm-trees" towards the south, which the
Kenites abandoned for this district south of Arad,--probably the present
_Nukh'l_; the name has that signification.

{302}  There are many such _cachets_ of water in the desert, but known
only to the tribes of each district.  During the Israelitish wanderings,
Hobab, a native of the desert, may have guided them to many such.

{304}  It is not to be supposed, however, that this is a just
representation of all that "great and terrible wilderness" through which
the Israelites were led for forty years.  It is indeed "a land not sown,"
(Jer. ii. 2,) and a land of pits and drought fearful to contemplate, as a
journey for a wandering population of nearly two millions of souls,
especially in the hottest seasons of the year; but the peculiarly
terrible wilderness must have been among the defiles, hemmed in by
scorching cliffs in the Sinaitic peninsula.

In that direction also were the "fiery flying serpents," concerning which
I have never been able to learn anything more satisfactory than that, in
the hot and unpeopled gorges west of the Dead Sea, there is a thin and
yellow serpent called the Neshabiyeh, which flings itself across from one
point to another in the air with astonishing velocity and force.  It is
therefore named after Neshabeh, a dart or arrow in Arabic.  The natives
also apply to it the epithet of "flying."  The wound which it inflicts is
said to be highly inflammatory and deadly, and from this effect it may be
called "fiery."  It may be also that, from being of a yellow colour, it
may glitter like a flame when flying with rapidity in the sunshine.

It is only in Isaiah xxx. 6, that the epithet "flying" is used for these
serpents.  Observe, however, in Hebrew Lexicons the several applications
of this word [Hebrew text].

{309}  Dr H. Bonar.

{316}  They take a pride in attributing everything of antiquity here to
Pharaoh, the cursed king of Egypt,--as those about the Euphrates
attribute all their old wonders to the cursed king Nimrod.  These names
are learned from the Koran.

{320}  Numerous travellers, however, have since gone from Jerusalem in
virtue of the agreement made on this occasion by me, and returned without
molestation from these people.

{332}  This I repeat after having travelled at different times on most
parts, north, west, and south of the lake, and read all that has been
printed about the eastern side.  (1867.)

{339}  Since writing the above, we learn from Lieutenant Warren's very
interesting letters that the Turkish Government have sent a large force
into the trans-Jordanic region, with a view of chastising the Arabs: it
remains to be seen whether this measure will leave any permanent
effects.--(_Nov._ 1867.)

{405}  Especially in a book probably little known, but published as
"Memoirs of a Babylonian Princess.  By (herself) Marie Therese Asmar,"
who was in London in 1845, and supported for a time by fashionable
patronesses of romantic Orientalism.

{408}  The events of 1860-61 led to a tragical termination of the career
of this young chieftain.

{419}  Mr Tristram has since done this, but on foot, the rugged road
being impassable in any other way.

{432}  Bait Zacari and Zecariah lie far away among the mountains in the
south-west.  Neither of them would command the road which Judas desired
to intercept--neither of them therefore answers to the Bath Zacharias of
the history any more than Baitzur near Hebron does to Bethsura--all are
equally out of the question by reason of their distance.

{440}  Very common in Oriental Christendom, and called by the Greeks the
[Greek text] (semantron.)

The ancient Britons used to summon the congregation to church service by
means of "sacra ligna," is it not likely that these were the same as the
above, seeing that the Celtic nations were derived from the East?


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